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10/01/2004
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1) ARF Armenia Pushes Accelerated Reforms to Resolve Critical Issues
2) ANCA-WR Praises Effort by Lawmakers to Reaffirm Armenian Genocide
3) Chirac Promises Turkey EU Referendum
4) Another Sosse Kindergarten Opens Doors
5) Noah's Ark Libarary Continues The Quest for Knowledge
6) ADAPTATION or WHEN HOLLYWOOD MET WASHINGTON

1) ARF Armenia Pushes Accelerated Reforms to Resolve Critical Issues

YEREVAN (Yerkir)--Armenian Revolutionary Federation's (ARF) Supreme Body
representative Armen Rustamian and National Assembly's ARF faction leader
Levon
Mkrtchian held a news conference on Friday to present the party's
activities in
the past year, along with future plans.
Rustamian, who mentioned that the party's Supreme Convention is scheduled for
October, said, "In order to make the discussions more effective, we need to
know public opinion on our activities. Then the convention will shape our
strategy for the next two years."
Speaking of ARF's motives to join the ruling coalition, Rustamian pointed to
two reasons. "First, we wanted the issues we deemed critical to be considered
as such by the government, and to ensure our participation in resolving those
issues. The coalition greatly contributed to establishing stability in the
country, as well as strengthening the country's position on the international
arena. When the political situation escalated this year, however, it became
clear that there is definite discontent."
"The coalition's main objective should be to accelerate the country's
development so as to decrease the level of objective discontent," Rustamian
continued.
He noted that due to specifics of the transitional period, the country is
shifting to a plutocracy rather than democracy. As for those measures aimed at
curtailing negative developments, Rustamian pointed to the fight against
corruption as a pivotal step, adding that the ARF's faction in the National
Assembly will soon introduce a number of draft laws related to the issue."
He also noted that accountability should play a key role in the policy of
choosing people to public offices, and that a system of checks and balances
must be instituted.
He detailed the party's stance on the Constitution, Elections Code, social
issues, and the justice system.
Asked to comment on the coalition's activities during the past year,
Rustamian
said not enough has been done to resolve crucial issues, and deemed it
necessary to accelerate the pace of reforms.


2) ANCA-WR Praises Effort by Lawmakers to Reaffirm Armenian Genocide

--Members of Congress Urge House Speaker to Schedule Genocide Resolution and
Maintain Schiff Amendment in Foreign Ops Bill

WASHINGTON, DC--The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region
(ANCA-WR) praised the bipartisan effort of sixty-four Members of Congress who
joined Congressmen George Radanovich (R-CA), Adam Schiff (R-CA), and Frank
Pallone (D-NJ) in sending a letter to House of Representatives Speaker J.
Dennis Hastert (R-IL) in support of a resolution acknowledging the Armenian
genocide (H.Res. 193) and calling on the leadership of the House to maintain
the "Schiff Amendment," which unanimously passed in the House of
Representatives by a voice vote on July 15, 2004.
"Next year will mark the 90th anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian
genocide," Congressman Schiff said, "and it would be a noble and fitting
gesture for this nation to recognize the deaths of 1.5 million Armenian men,
women and children, while some of the survivors still remain."
Among the signatories to the letter were Representatives Neil Abercrombie
(D-HI) Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Howard Berman (D-CA),
Lois Capps (D-CA), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Bob Filner (D-CA), Raul Grijalva
(D-AZ), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Nick Lampson (D-TX), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA),
Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Devin Nunes (R-CA), George Radanovich (R-CA), Loretta
Sanchez (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA)Mike Thompson (D-CA), Diane Watson (D-CA),
Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and Anna Eshoo (D-CA).
Congresswoman Eshoo, who will be honored at the upcoming ANCA-WR 2004 Banquet
on October 24 in Pasadena, CA, also joined her fellow Congressman of Armenian
descent, Rep. John E. Sweeney (R-NY), in issuing a separate letter to
Congressional colleagues urging them to co-sign the letter to Speaker Hastert.
Thousands of Armenian Americans from across the United States utilized the
ANCA's WebFax tool to communicate their support for this effort to their
Representatives in Congress.
"Given all of this support, it should be clear to the House Leadership that
the American people prefer justice to indifference and hypocrisy when it comes
to genocide," remarked Ardashes Kassakhian, Executive Director of the ANCA-WR.
"We're calling on House Leaders to do what's right and end their opposition to
this simple, commonsense piece of legislation," said Kassakhian.
H.Res. 193, and its Senate companion S.Res. 164, is a resolution that
officially recognizes the Armenian genocide and marks the 15th anniversary of
President Ronald Reagan signing the 1987 genocide Convention Implementation
Act, also known as the Proxmire Act. H.Res. 193 passed the House Judiciary
Committee on May 22, 2003, shortly after its introduction on April 10, 2003.
The House of Representatives voted to adopt the Schiff Amendment to the House
version of the Foreign Operations spending bill, which aims to prohibit the
Government of Turkey from using US foreign aid to lobby against H.Res. 193.


3) Chirac Promises Turkey EU Referendum

STRASBOURG (Reuters)--President Jacques Chirac has promised to hold a
referendum on Turkey's entry to the European Union if the bloc agrees to its
accession, despite the risk that France could block its membership.
Bowing to political pressure for French people to have a say on Turkey,
Chirac
said he had urged the government to propose changes to France's
constitution so
that referendums have to be held on any other future enlargement of the
25-member bloc.
His call is likely to alarm Ankara and could cause concern among all
prospective EU members.
"Let me reassure you right away--the French people will have their say,"
Chirac told a news conference following talks with German Chancellor Gerhard
Schroeder in Strasbourg in eastern France on Friday.
A referendum is unlikely for more than a decade. But an opinion poll this
week
showed 56 percent of French people oppose Turkey's immediate entry due to
fears
on jobs and concerns about letting in a mainly Muslim country that links
Europe
to Asia.
Chirac's ruling conservative party has also opposed Ankara's candidacy and
called for a referendum, even though the president supports Turkey's
accession.

Chirac's promises of a public vote are intended to prevent voters' concerns
over Turkey clouding a referendum next year on the EU constitution and
increasing the chances of France rejecting the treaty--a vote which could
torpedo it.
Chirac gave no details of the changes he wanted in France's constitution,
apart from saying votes on future EU enlargement should be put to a public
vote.
"It would be compulsory to ask the French people via a referendum on this
enlargement or any other possible enlargements, and not via the parliamentary
process," he said,

COMMISSION REPORT

The European Commission is expected to recommend in a report on Wednesday
that
the EU opens entry talks with Turkey. A final decision will be taken when EU
leaders meet in December; the accession talks would be expected to last for
several years.
There was no referendum in France before the EU expanded to 25 members in
May.
French people are concerned that France's influence in the EU has been diluted
by enlargement and that the entry of a country of 71 million people will water
it down more.
Chirac said he and Schroeder agreed that Turkey had made a lot of progress by
introducing democratic and economic reforms but had not yet fulfilled all the
terms for entry.
"We have an interest in having Turkey with us," Chirac said. "It creates a
prospect of democracy and peace taking root on the whole of the European
continent ... so that we avoid the mistakes and violence of the past."
France's foreign and finance ministers, both of whom are members of Chirac's
Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, have in the past few days proposed
holding a referendum on Turkey's entry when the time comes.
There is some hope for Turkey. This week's poll showed 63 percent of French
could one day foresee Turkey's accession.
Chirac did not make clear whether he wanted changes made to France's
constitution in time for a further enlargement expected to take in Romania and
Bulgaria in 2007. Croatia is expected to join the bloc soon after Romania and
Bulgaria.


4) Another Sosse Kindergarten Opens Doors

--Misserlians fund ARS Shushi school

SHUSHI (Noyan Tapan)--The Armenian Relief Society 'Soseh' Kindergarten of
Shushi in Mountainous Karabagh Republic, officially opened on September 30,
offering elementary education and devoted care to 50 children. Yetvart and
Vergine Misserlian of San Fransisco are the benefactors of the new
kindergarten.
The ARS founded its first 'Sosse' kindergarten in Stepanakert, in 1997,
offering the children of Artsakh basic care and elementary education in
Armenian culture. This worthy endeavor has continued for the last 7 years, to
provide education to more than 520 children in Karabagh, and gainful
employment
to over 100 adults.


5) Noah's Ark Libarary Continues The Quest for Knowledge

By Ani Shahinian
Asbarez Staff

HOLLYWOODSeptember 26 marked the official opening of the Rose & Alex Pilibos
Armenian School's state of the art gymnasium and library. It was a significant
day in the school's 35-year history as it represented the culmination of years
of tireless work and dedication. Inspired by the biblical story of Noah's ark,
the library finds itself in "floating" form as it hovers above the gymnasium
roof. School Principal Viken Yacoubian expressed that the library symbolizes
transition and the immigrants' voyage, yet it is anchored firmly with huge
columns representing Armenia's heritage and culture.
Many community members and supporters were on hand, as student council
president Ara Tomassian, the afternoon's emcee, welcomed them. After Reverend
Vassilian offered his blessings and congratulations, Board of Regents of
Prelacy Schools member Roubina Peroomian spoke enthusiastically about the
worthwhile project and its journey to completion.
Inspirational words by US Congresswoman Diane Watson, representing
California's 33rd Congressional district, encouraged the preservation of
ethnicity and culture and praised the school's integral role in educating
young
Armenian American students. She said the 33rd district, with its mix of
Armenians, Greeks, Hispanics, among other ethnicities, is a true reflection of
what America is about. The Congresswoman spoke of parallels between the
Armenian and African American communities, remarking, "We share a common
heritage of having been transported through the diaspora to a new home in
America." Watson noted the resilience of the Armenians, despite its history of
suffering, and the unique contributions the Armenian American community has
made to society. Pledging her continued commitment to representing
Armenians in
her district, Watson said that through such endeavors, "Your children and
children's children will never forget who they are."
On behalf of the school's finance committee, Marie Demirjian extended
gratitude to all who helped endlessly in the actualization of the project.
Angela Sassounian, a member of the educational committee, said that the
library
will not only serve the needs of the students, but also the school's teachers
and parents, as well as the larger Pilibos family.
As the afternoon came to a close, Principal Viken Yacoubian acknowledged not
only those who dedicated themselves to the project in the present time, but
specifically extended appreciation to "those who came before us. It is the
force of their vision, love, and commitment that has made the project
possible." He remarked that the school will continue on its path, as the
vision
of becoming an integral part of the larger society, while being "anchored" by
our Armenian heritage is realized.
StudioWorks Architects' principals Robert Mangurian and Mary-Ann Ray, who
designed the stunning building, were also present during the ceremony. They
found harmony in the contradictory building types by fusing "exercise of the
body" and "education of the mind." The pomegranate-red library can be entered
through an existing four-story classroom building by elevator or via outdoor
stairs with metal treads and jaunty nautical railings. Inside, the library is
one big, long room housing 9,000 Armenian and English-language books, a
reading
room, a children's storytelling nook, an online research area, and a
librarian's office. The 14,000-square-foot gym includes regulation high school
basketball and volleyball facilities, bleacher seating for 275 people, a
student store, an exercise room, locker rooms, restrooms, coaches' offices, a
maintenance shop, and equipment storage.


6) ADAPTATION or WHEN HOLLYWOOD MET WASHINGTON

By Skeptik Sininkian

Ok, now I know I promised you the sequel to last week's drama/comedy/action
thriller but I couldn't help but digress for just a bit considering that
Thursday night everyone I knew was watching the Presidential debate. In fact,
last night's match up provided me with enough material for three different
columns and I am tempted to dump the continuation of last week's column all
together. But I won't let you down. A promise is a promise and we'll pick up
from where we left off with Episode 2 of our Hollywood script-turned-reality.
And as before, with any highly anticipated movie, we have to have at least 20
minutes of nonsensical previews! So in the spirit of remaining true to the
Hollywood theme, we will now cover the debate in preview format.
Well, what can I say, just when I thought it was safe to put some money down
on the election, Kerry pulls off a big win. The smart money is still on Bush
but Kerry came through big mainly because he stood to lose more than George W.
Bush in the debates. The President, on the other hand, had been
handicapped by
his Achilles' heel, namely, his lack of intelligence. But it wasn't Bush's
lack
of knowledge on the issues that cooked his goose. It was his smug arrogance
which, when juxtaposed with Kerry's cool and calm demeanor, made him look like
a spoiled and impatient brat.
The President did make some good points, jabbing Kerry repeatedly on his
inconsistency on the Iraq War. (Don't you love living in an era where we
can be
at war without formally DECLARING war? I'm being sarcastic. Quick Skeptik
Factoid: Did you know The United States hasn't formally declared war on anyone
since World War II). Kerry was unable to respond clearly to the President's
inquiries into his stance on the war because Kerry doesn't really have one.
During the same debate, he questioned going to war numerous times and then
said
that he could do the job better. My Democrat friends were dancing in the
street
after Kerry's performance in the debate but I wasn't sure why? Kerry's
apparently back in the race and that's supposedly a good thing? From what I
understood during the debate, Kerry's planning on staying in Iraq and I don't
know what magic wand he's going to use to make our boys and girls immune to
enemy bullets. (Sigh)
But Kerry did make the point that Bush became distracted during his War on
Terror and shifted his focus from the Mountains of Bora Bora (I just like
saying Bora Bora) where Osama Bin Laden was hiding and redirected troops to
Iraq. And speaking of Iraq and the debates and the election and the hunt for
Osama Bin Laden...we are now ready to continue or regularly scheduled program.
(By the way, my mother still thinks that there's a conspiracy to catch or
reveal the capture of Bin Laden before Election Day).
When we last left our kingdom in chaos, we had an inexperienced king with
delusions of greatness leading his people into a war against an invisible
enemy. The king wastes the surplus of the kingdom's coffers and squanders away
any respect that the other kingdoms had for

Act V The Rat Race or It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
[Setting: Washington, DC]

The ceremonial day of selecting a new leader is fast approaching. Initially,
the king's challenger appreciated widespread popularity, not as much for his
own abilities but out of dislike toward the king. The king responds by having
his servants attack the challenging prince's credibility as a veteran of the
foreign wars. Both men hold great festivals to curry favor with the people but
the king emerges stronger from his celebration. As the day of the actual
festival to select the next king draws closer, rumors begin to circulate that
the king is about the capture his adversarythe infamous and elusive invisible
enemy. People work themselves into frenzy at the prospect of capturing and
finally seeing this monster in the flesh.

Act VI Sleeping With the Enemy?

The festival has nearly arrived and rumors abound about a potential attack or
the message a change in leadership would send to the elusive enemy. Some
think
that he has already been captured while others are certain that he is lurking
outside the gates of the realm waiting for the right moment to attack. Just
before the festival day, the king makes a grand speech about patriotism, the
call of duty, and the legacy of all the kings that came before him. The
subjects cheer their king and believe that he is the only person who can rid
them of this mysterious evil that threatens them. The king's demoralized
challenger sulks as he watches his opponent play upon the insecurities of the
people and run off with the crown yet again.

Now this is the part in the movie where the camera begins to pan out over the
crowd and we see a lone horseman riding into the town interrupting the king's
speech. Out of breath, the young soldier announces that the enemy has been
cornered in the mountains far off on the outskirts of the kingdom. The king
announces to his subjects that they will embark on the crusade to bring the
villain to justice as dawn's first light, but tonight...they will elect the new
leader and prepare for war the next day. People begin to cheer in frenzy at
the
prospect of capturing the enemy and the movie ends with the teaser for the
final and third episodeThe Phantom Menace.
Le Fin. The End. To be Continued...but not by this Skeptik.
This is how it will go down, in the next few weeks we'll start hearing
reports
of how we're "closing the noose around the neck of Bin Laden" which will give
us hope that he will be brought to justice. In the meantime, Bush will
continue
to campaign as a Wartime President. And come November, unless Kerry gets off
his clam chowder sipping' New England Ivy League derriere, we'll have four
more
years of Bush, a miserable economy, more war, more lives lost along with
respect. It's sad to think this but sometimes I wonder if Bush was glad
that he
became known as the "Wartime President;" otherwise he'd just be remembered as
being radical and mediocre at best. It's strange how Hollywood and Washington
DC work sometimes and how a zero turns into a "hero." Well, that's it for me
this week. We'll be back next week after these messages from our sponsors.

Skeptik Sinikian has been brought to you by "Madzoon" [yogurt]the
breakfast of
champions! And "Skhtor" [garlic]"For when plain Madzoon just isn't enough!"

Sinikian can be reached at [email protected] or visit his blog at
www.sinikian.blogspot.com.


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