ArmeniaNow.com - Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 August 15, 2003 


Identity Crisis: Government alters ID card plan to placate Church


The government announced on Thursday largely symbolic changes in its plans to introduce mandatory social security accounts for Armenia's citizens which prompted religiously motivated objections from the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Under the scheme approved by parliament last year, every Armenian national will be given a lifetime "individual code" that will contain information about their incomes and social security contributions. Government officials say it is essential for combating tax evasion and embarking on a radical overhaul of the country's pension system.

(See related story)

But according to the quasi-official church and some of its passionate adherents, the very idea of attaching a particular number to a human being runs counter to the basic tenets of Christianity. Citing excerpts from the Bible, they have sought to portray it as a diabolic and sinful undertaking. Their campaign has gathered momentum recently, putting government officials on the defensive.

The government's changes, unveiled by Social Security Minister Aghvan Vartanian, amount to renaming "individual codes" into encoded "social security cards." "The numbers will be given to the cards, not the individuals," he explained. "The number of a card will be unique and unchangeable."

Vartanian said the changes have been approved by the leadership of the Apostolic Church and will enter into force after Armenia's government-controlled National Assembly passes corresponding amendments to the Law on Individual Codes. He said the government has also agreed to make sure that no social security account carries the "diabolic" number 666 mentioned in the New Testament.



According to Agnes
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  Inside
 

Karabakh Ceasefire Under Strain: Upsurge in shooting incidents worries negotiators

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Convenience or Conspiracy?: Outlandish claims circulate regarding proposed ID cards

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Identity Crisis: Government alters ID card plan to placate Church

Full story

 
 

 


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Hey Europe and UK! Stop complaining!

While the UK broke temperature records with 38 C (100.4 F), Summer in the City was a hotter tune in Yerevan. The Opera House thermometer registered as high as 48 (118.4).

On August 10, temperatures in high elevations were said to have reached 55 (131). The Ministry of Healthcare advised residents to eat more fruit and easily digestible foods.

By Friday, things had "cooled down" to 30 (86).

 

 





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