BUDGET 2004: The Armenian parliament began
debate December 12 on the government's draft budget
for next year, RFL/RL reported. The spending bill
calls for $508 million in net revenues $550 million
in expenditures, which is 6 percent less than
had been budgeted for this year.
The government attributes the decrease to the
fact that 2003 was a peak year in the implementation
of multimillion-dollar infrastructure projects
financed by the Lincy Foundation. Its 2003 budget
included roughly $80 million worth of Lincy funds.
HUMAN RIGHT COMPLAINTS: A presidential
human rights commission said it has received about
500 written complaints and 300 verbal complaints
from the beginning of the year, Armenpress reported
Thirty percent of written complaints concern
court rulings which complainants say were unfair.
Another 30 percent of complaints are of social
nature and 10 percent of complaints are beyond
the reach of the commission.
HEATING SEASON: Secondary and special schools
of Yerevan city are fully prepared for the heating
season, Arka reported December 12.
According to the City Council 189 of 206 schools
are provided with the heating supply. Only 18
schools of Yerevan city are provided with local
gas heating, and the remaining will be supplied
with electric heaters, the expenses of which will
be covered by the State budget funds.
HOTEL STAFF LAUNCHES PROTEST: As many as 50
employees of Yerevan "Dvin" hotel staged
a protest action before the House of the Parliament
demanding their salaries, AybFe reported December
The demonstrators stated after privatization
of "Dvin" they are pressed by the hotel
director who refused to pay debt accumulated for
three years. The protesters representatives were
given access to the National Assembly and received
by proper officials, who advised to submit written
motion to the Parliament Speaker.
AZERI EX-PRESIDENT DIED: Armenia sent
no representatives to the funeral of Azerbaijan's
former President Heydar Aliev but conveyed official
condolences to his son and successor, RFE/RL reported
In a message to Ilham Aliev, President Robert
Kocharyan expressed his "sincere sympathy"
for the family of the veteran leader who was his
most frequent foreign interlocutor in recent years.
KAMIKAZE MP: Milli Mejlis, deputy from Yeni
Azerbaijan ruling party is ready to become a kamikaze
for "the liberation" of Nagorno Karabakh,
PanARMENIAN.Net reported December 15 referring
to the REGNUM News Agency.
During the special parliament sitting dedicated
to the death of Azerbaijani ex-President Heydar
Aliyev the MP Asya Manafova stated that to return
the favor to Heydar Aliyev, they should liberate
Karabakh. "For this purpose we are even ready
to apply the tactic of the Chechen patriots that
is to act as kamikazes,"she said.
NEW MAGAZINE: December 16 the Armenian Parliament
inaugurated a new magazine "National Assembly"
published by the National Assembly of Armenia,
The head of the PR department said it would contribute
to strengthening the links between the public
and the NA. The magazine funded by donor organizations
is published in 500 copies to be distributed free
RULES FOR TV GAMBLING: Armenian parliament
voted December 15 to make some crucial changes
to the Law on Gambling, cutting substantially
the time for aired advertisements of numerous
lotto games, Azg reported.
Under the passed bill the advertisement time
of lotto games can not surmount 9 minutes within
24 hours and 60 seconds during one hour of aired
time. The bill also envisages a substantial rise
in the amount of state dues companies running
TV lotto games have to pay, raising it from the
previous 25 million Drams to 100 million.
GREEK TELECOM SUES GOVERNMENT: Monopolist
of telecommunication network of Armenia "ArmenTel"
company has instituted a suit at London International
Arbitrary Court against the Armenian government,
PanARMENIAN.Net. reported December 17.
The Greek company holding 90% of "ArmenTel"
shares has simultaneously brought a suit on payment
of damages, which had resulted from the government
breaking the license on company activities.
GENOCIDE RECOGNITION: Switzerland's lower
house of parliament recognized the 1915 killings
of hundreds of thousands of Armenians as genocide.
The motion was approved by 107 votes to 67 with
11 abstentions. Unlike an earlier proposal rejected
in 2001, the new motion does not demand formal
recognition by the government, but simply asks
for the parliament's decision to be acknowledged
and transmitted to Turkey.
FLU ATTACK: Yerevan secondary schools and
preschools shut because of flu to avoid further
complications, Yerkir reported December 18.
The number of the patients suffering from influenza
and respiratory diseases has reached 5,000, said
officials of Ministry of Health. However they
said no epidemic situation will be declared, since
such situation is announced only after 20 percent
of the population gets sick.
PARENTS BLAME OFFICIALS: Armenia's judicial
system is entirely corrupt, the parents of soldiers
killed while doing their military service stated
at the "Azdak" discussion club, Arminfo
reported December 18.
They said that in response to their numerous
demands that the crimes be investigated the Ministry
of Defense advised them to turn to licensed lawyers,
who charge up to $2,000 for their services. The
parents state that the Military Prosecutor's Office
destroys all evidence and does not allow some
witnesses to testify in court.