Motorists in Armenia ‘buckle-up’ in disbelief

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Government approved National Transportation Safety strategy pushes forward with car seat belts

Hundreds of drivers in capital Yerevan were pulled off to the sidewalks and fined by the police this week for not fastening their car seatbelts. The large-scale police operation was widely covered prime-time by Public TV of Armenia. The capital had changed beyond recognition next day – 90% of drivers were wearing their safety belts.

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Armenian – Azerbaijani relations in a snapshot

Armenian group plans to hold an Azerbaijani film festival in Yerevan, while Azerbaijani law-enforcement bodies interrogate a young man who dared to vote for Armenia in the Eurovision song contest held this spring. Below is a screenshot from the English language version of the RFE/RL’s Armenian service website made on August 16, 2009.

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There’s not much to add to this, except that Armenia granted 1 point to Azerbaijan at the song contest, which means over 1000 people voted for it, while in Azerbaijan only 43 people voted. You can also be certain, that nobody from Azerbaijan will vote for Armenia next year. Who would want to be called for interrogations by Security Services just for innocent SMS voting?

Yerevan – the desert city… and the scorpion in the office

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You don’t normally expect scorpions and tarantula in your office, do you? Well, in my office in central Yerevan I’ve come across both. And not just in the office, but also at home. This is mostly because Yerevan was built on a desert area, partly also because human activity has further worsened the microclimate here.

The massive construction in Yerevan’s Northern Avenue and elsewhere has also contributed to the fact, that all sorts of venomous creatures: snakes, scorpions, lizards have been driven out of their underground nests and spread throughout the central areas of the city. Still, with cooler weather this year, we haven’t heard about snake-bites and scorpion poisonings this year. Thank God.

Overall, beautiful as it is, Yerevan is situated in the worst possible place for a capital city. My suggestion? Let’s move capital of Armenia into Tsakhadzor, Sevan, Gyumri or Vanadzor. Why not?

Armenia – Telephone today and in Soviet times… UPDATED

Beeline and VivaCell-MTS telecommunications companies together claim to have over 2,6 million mobile subscribers. Adding to that the army of over 650 thousand fixed-line phone subscribers in Armenia, we will have an impressive figure, roughly equal to that of official population data for Armenia:  3 million 239 thousand.

The numbers for mobile phone subscribers by the abovementioned telecom companies, should be taken with some caution of course. Vivacell-MTS, for one thing, was too eager to claim it has 80% mobile user market share launching a massive marketing campaign about having 2 million mobile subscribers.

Some time ago @kpearce – one of my mostly-online-friends, asked to fill in a questionnaire about telephone in Soviet times and these days. Looking back at those answers made me realize just how far forward we have moved today. So I decided to publish some of those questions and answers, that you might find interesting, amusing or nostalgic.

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“Miss 7 Continents” Contest Held in Armenia

Miss 7 continents There was a lot of buzz last week about the international beauty contest “Miss Seven Continents” that was going to be held in Armenia. A group of beauties were featured prime time on Armenia TV, a number of newspapers wrote about how important this international contest is for the image of Armenia.

Clearly, a beauty contest, held in the peak of the tourist season in Armenia is a good idea. Why not? So I eagerly waited for more information. The contest took place on July 29th. Browsing through some photos I came across the one posted above. PanArmenian Photo offers a wider collection of photos. It seems natural, that I tried to find out – who won?

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Meet my guest – Mr. Grashopper

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I have always had a strange admiration for all sorts of insects. Luckily my son shares my love of them. So when yesterday’s thunderstorms brought us a scared locust – a large (7 cm or more) representative of the grasshopper family, we were both excited.

Rob, my son, tried to feed it with some grass, although we had no idea if it likes it and were too lazy to look in the encyclopedia.

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The ‘Armenian’ coffee and the gadget called ‘Jazzve’

CIMG0188 The key thing about ‘Armenian’ coffee is – it’s not ‘Turkish’ coffee. Never mind, that most of the world calls the exact same type of coffee – Turkish coffee…

This high tech gadget called ‘Jazzve’ is instrumental in making your ‘Armenian’ coffee a success. It must be used and old. The handle is often wooden and burned. You can tell at once that it has seen a lot of coffee flow through its belly.

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