- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 December 5 , 2003 



A Week in Seven Days: Matters that made the media since last Friday .

Social security card.

SOCIAL CARDS ON THE MOVE: Implementation of social security cards in Armenia will increase productivity of work of self-government bodies, President Robert Kocharyan said November 28 during the meeting with the Government.

Arka agency reported the use of cards will begin July 1, 2004. Every Armenian citizen will receive an individual code, by which he will receive pension, benefits, declare income, employment, etc. The number will consist of 10 symbols and be kept for 400 years.

READY FOR TERRORISM: PanARMENIAN.Net reported November 28 that the Azeri Organization for Karabakh Liberation is carrying out a series of unauthorized actions of protest in front of the Embassies of different counties and offices of international organizations. "If necessary, we will commit acts of terrorism in Armenia. Down with the diplomatic missions of the States pursuing the policy of double standards toward Azerbaijan!" the picketers shouted.

BOOK ON KARABAKH: A book, "Nagorno-Karabakh Crisis: Sieged Fortress" was introduced at the Armenian Embassy in Paris, Arka reported November 28.

The book tells about history and reasons of the Karabakh conflict and about geopolitical interests and perspectives.

Businessman and ex-MP Ruben Gevorgyan known by his nickname "Tsaghik Rubo" was arrested November 29 and charged with conspiracy to commit murder, Arminfo reported

The press-service of the Armenian Police says Gevorgyan conspired to commit various crimes against businessman Gevorg Manukyan and his relatives. Police found explosive devices in mobile phones in Gevorgyan's possession.

PRESIDENTS MEETING: President Robert Kocharyan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The meeting was held in St.Petersburg on Kocharyan's initiative. Putin said he was glad at the chance to meet with Kocharyan and to discuss the prospects of the Karabakh conflict settlement as well as some other regional problems.

Armenia has the highest rate of economic development of any CIS country according to the annual Transition report 2003 of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

"For improving the business atmosphere in the country it is necessary to activate reforms in the enterprises, court and tax systems, as well as implement laws on publishing financial information and on the struggle against corruption," the report concludes.

Nagorno Karabakh Prime Minister Anushavan Danielyan accused owners of local bread-baking plants of a criminal design to get higher profits through inflated prices of bread.

Armenpress quoted Danielyan as saying that the government cannot remain indifferent to the aggravating situation "The government is not going to interfere in market relations," he said "but we should not forget that the main task of the Cabinet is to defend people's interests."

Under its 2002 Food Security Program the European Commission extended the last 4 million Euro installment of its 9.5 million grant for Armenia, Yerkir daily reported December 2. The Food Security Program has been operating in Armenia since 1996. So far Armenia has received a total of 67.0 million Euros in grants from the program.

ROADS NEED INVESTMENT: The Armenian Government has voiced concern over the situation of the roads connecting various villages and towns in Armenia, Azg daily reported December 2.

A draft project of reconstructing of these roads has been elaborated by the transport ministry, with an estimated cost of $30 million. The project has been submitted for the approval to World Bank.

ARCHBISHOP PASSED AWAY: Archbishop Mesrop Ashjian died December 2 in the US after suffering a heart attack. The archbishop, who belonged to the Cilicia Catholicosate, had moved to the Holy See of Echmiadzin and was serving the All Armenian Catholicosate.

Archbishop Ashjian, according to his will, will be buried in Antillias. A service will be conducted for the archbishop on December 7 at St. Echmiadzin.

PENSIONS INCREASE: The Armenian government approved on December 3 a third modest increase in state pensions this year, which it said was made possible by robust GDP growth and a crackdown on the informal sector of the economy.

As reported by RFE/RL the measure raised from 7,600 drams to 8,300 drams ($15) the average amount of monthly retirement benefits paid to some 490,000 elderly Armenians. The head of the State Social Insurance Fund assures if the rate of growth continues, the pensions will stand at around 10,000 drams by the end of 2004.

MINISTER VERSUS COMPANY: Minister of Transport and Communications of Armenia Andranik Manukyan issued an order banning a rise in the fixed telephone communication tariffs on Jan 1, 2004, Arminfo reported December 3.

He said that the order demands the telecommunications monopolist ArmenTel Company, to cancel its earlier made statement that the fixed telephone tariffs will raise from 4 drams to 8 drams and 360 minutes of free local calls will be reduced to 120 minutes on Jan 1, 2004. "If Armentel disobeys the order, sanctions will be imposed on it," the minister said.

ARMENIA-NATO: Armenia will soon appoint a permanent representative to NATO in order to step up its cooperation with the U.S.-dominated alliance, President Robert Kocharyan announced during a working visit to Brussels this week.

As reported By RFE/RL December 4 the announcement came after Kocharyan's talks with NATO's outgoing Secretary General George Robertson. Kocharyan said the full-time special envoy will facilitate and intensify security consultations between the Armenian government and representatives of the rapidly expanding alliance.

HAYFILM TO BE PRIVATIZED: Armenia's film producing company, HayFilm Studio is considering two privatization bids submitted by US-Armenian businessman Gerald Cafesjian and the influential chairman of the World Organization of Armenians, Ara Abrahamian.

As Armenpress reported December 4, the director of the studio said HayFilm has debts neither to the government nor to the personnel, and has enough capacities to produce 3-5 films a year. He also said that the sale of the HayFilm may go on only after the passage of a draft law on Film Production that is set to go to parliament's consideration soon.






According to Agnes
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The Week in seven days


The Arts in seven days


  Photo of the week
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Out of step with the times?

About 100 hardliners marched in Yerevan last Saturday to mark the 83 year anniversary of Armenia becoming a communist country. Many oldtimers wish it were, still.





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