Old Temple New
Image: The 180 million dram (about $300,000) repair work of the pagan temple
of Garni, Kotayk province launched in 2002 will be wrapped up by mid September
ARMENPRESS reported August 22.
The work, supported by US-based Lincy foundation,
included repair of the temple's walls, palace buildings and hall, the 7th century
church as well as the construction of a mechanical irrigation pipe line with its
own pump and water basin. A ($10,000) lighting system is also planned.
Unknown Shooters: The Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office,
Andrzej Kasprzyk said it is impossible to say whether shots fired during an August
19 OSCE monitoring visit in the Tavush region came from the Armenian or the Azeri
As ARMINFO reported August 23 Kasprzyk said that the types of the
arms were impossible to identify as well. He expressed dissatisfaction with the
fact that the given incident cast doubt on the monitoring and endangered the OSCE
Hunger Strike Over: Twenty-nine prisoners protesting
the Armenian government's decision to commute their death sentences to life terms
called off a brief hunger strike after lawmakers agreed to look into their concerns,
Associated Press reported August 24.
The convicts launched a hunger strike
on August 22, demanding that their death sentences either stand or they be given
a 20-year sentence - the maximum punishment under the new code, which came into
effect on Aug. 1, replacing 40-year-old Soviet-era legislation.
Borders Make Good Neighbors: Senior officials from Georgian and Armenian foreign
affairs ministries will meet in mid-September in Yerevan to discuss a range of
issues pertaining to delineation of their borders before the end of 2004, Azg
daily reported August 24.
Also the Russian Novosty news agency quoted an
official of the Georgian border guard service as saying that there are no disputable
questions between the two neighbor nations, "but the existence of some minor,
side questions, have put off the signing of the final agreement."
Will Survive: ARMENPRESS reported August 25 about the completion of construction
of a major Vorotan-Arpa tunnel. The tunnel, which opens in October, will take
the waters of Vorotan River to Lake Sevan. The new tunnel will add some 165 million
cubic meters of water to Sevan Lake of which 100 million will be pumped out for
irrigation purpose and the rest for raising its level. The construction of the
tunnel was resumed in 1997, after 16 years of suspended work.
Plan: The Armenian government, facing mounting pressure from Western lending
institutions, will adopt a long-awaited strategy of combating corruption within
the next three months, Tigran Torosyan, the deputy speaker of the Armenian parliament,
told RFE/RL Yerevan bureau August 26.
Torosyan said it would be possible
to finalize that program in two or three months' time. The anti-corruption plan
will be made public this year despite a decision by the three parties making up
the ruling coalition to intervene in the ongoing work of government experts who
were charged with drawing it up more than two years ago.
Frightens Tourists Off: Low quality services at Armenia's Zvartnots airport
is the main reason hindering further development of tourism in Armenia, reported
Azg daily. This was the main conclusion drawn by a meeting August 26 that brought
together officials of trade and development ministry and heads of local travel
The meeting also looked into possibilities to improve the low
quality services, but noted that they remain poor even after an Argentinean company
was given the airport's management.
Good News: The minimum
salaries are expected to reach the level of minimum living standard in the next
fiscal year, reported Yerkir weekly online August 27. This objective was set in
the strategic program for elimination of poverty. It is proposed that next year's
budget be drafted in a way as to accomplish this objective.
minimum monthly salary in Armenia is 5000 drams ($8.60). If the requirements of
program are carried out, the minimum salary will have to increase at least three
times amounting to 18-20,000 drams ($31-$34). According to expert evaluations,
this is the per capita minimum living standard even though the official agencies
state the minimum living standard is 12,000 drams.
Construction: Turkish civil engineers and builders as well as mechanics and
workers from the Philippine Islands, Bulgaria and India are engaged in the construction
of a new US Embassy in Armenia.
The involvement of foreign workers was
accounted for by the fact that the construction requires a high qualification,
as well as conformity not only with the US standards, but also with the requirements
set by the US Department of State to modernization of embassy buildings, ARMINFO
reported August 27.