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Press Review


“Haykakan Zhamanak” says officials have still not explained why a pipeline carrying drinking water to parts of Yerevan got contaminated and infected dozens of residents. “Specialists have not yet been able to clarify precisely what happened, but are already inclined to assess the situation not as an accident, but a disaster,” the paper writes.

“Aravot” says the individuals who contracted dysentery from contaminated water now have a case for suing Yerevan’s water ands sewerage network. But none of them has done so as yet.

“Iravunk” likewise lays the blame on the authorities, saying that prosecutors should have already launched an investigation into the “criminal negligence” that led to a disease outbreak. Particularly “disgraceful,” the paper says, was the conduct of senior government officials responsible for public utilities. Not only did they fail to immediately stop water supplies to residential areas, but also failed to warn the population of the risk to their health. The paper says they failed to “get their fat butts off their chairs” because their children were never at risk. A spokesman for the Yerevan utility tells “Iravunk” that it failed to alert the population on time because the accident occurred on Sunday.

“Hayots Ashkhar” also calls for a criminal inquiry into the contamination. It says officials from the Ministry of Health believe that water supplies to relevant parts of the city should have been immediately cut off.

“Iravunk” considers the past four years “completely lost” for the investigation into the October 1999 shootings in the Armenian parliament. The paper says the marathon trial of their perpetrators has not cleared up any of the circumstances leading up to the killings. It has not been “an act of justice.”

Armen Darpinian, a former prime minister, accuses the ruling coalition of “populism,” in an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar.” He says, in particular, that none of its three parties has the right to initiate or block an increase in the utility fees. Darpinian also questions the way they plan to divide deputy ministerial posts. “This is not a classical coalition,” he says.

According to “Yerkir,” a desire to get one of those posts was the main reason why Gagik Aslanian, a former parliament vice-speaker, joined the governing Orinats Yerkir Party. The weekly paper, controlled by Dashnaktsutyun, criticizes the recent merger of Aslanian’s People’s Democratic Party with Orinats Yerkir.

In an editorial, “Aravot” attacks the Armenian Apostolic Church for its controversial plans to build an official residence for its head, Catholicos Garegin II. The paper warns that the project, if implement, may result in a public backlash against a perceived church profligacy. Garegin himself risks being suspected of abusing his position for demolishing a historical building in central Yerevan. The “unrestrained greed of some of our clerics” could cost the Armenian church dearly, it concludes.

(Hrach Melkumian)
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