- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 January 16, 2004 



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

POSITIVE INDICATION: The 2004 Index of Economic Freedom released by the Heritage Foundation and "The Wall Street Journal" January 9 rated Armenia as the only member of the Russian-dominated grouping of ex-Soviet states with a "mostly free" business environment, RFE/RL reports.

The study ranks 155 countries of the world on 10 different factors, including trade policy, government intervention in the economy and fiscal burden on businesses. Armenia maintains its 44th rank with France, the world's fourth largest economy.

A draft bill on the creation of the post of ombudsman passed in its final reading last October has entered into force January 1, 2004, Armenpress reported January 9.

Under the law, the defender of human rights must be appointed by the president of the country within two months since its enforcement. The law envisages that candidates for the post, who must be at least 35 years old with a university education, are proposed by the president and must be approved by a minimum three-fifths of all parliament deputies.

Despite the fact that US Dollar has dropped more than thirty percent against the euro over the past two years, Armenian Central Bank authorities said the process in unlikely to have any impact on Armenian national currency, the dram, Armenpress reported January 12.

Officials of the bank said that for Armenian authorities it is more important to maintain the domestic purchasing power of the dram, a stable level of retail and wholesale prices.

The issues of economic integration between Armenia and Russia will be discussed at "Cooperation and Integration-2004" bilateral business forum to be held in Yerevan February 20-23, PanARMENIAN.Net reported January 12.

The forum will take place with the assistance of Armenia's Ministry of Trade and Economic Development and the Union of Manufacturers of Russia. According to the Armenian national statistic service, the commodity circulation between Armenia and Russia increased by 33% during 11 months of 2003.

The major inspection launched last August at Armenia's main Zvartnots airport at the order of President Kocharyan to identify the main obstacles hindering its normal operation, has resulted in conspicuous improvements, Armenpress reported January 13.

A special attention was paid to how customs officers treat passengers, reducing their contacts with them to minimum. Though regular daily examinations are set to end on January 15, the presidential oversight service will keep the airport's operation in its focus.

More that 13,000 cars were imported in Armenia in 2003, 8,130 of which were Russian and 4,977 were foreign, PanARMENIAN.Net reported January 14.

According to the press office of the Customs Committee of Armenia, the index has two times exceeded the one of year 2002.

Armenian seismologists warn that a new powerful earthquake may hit the region in the next 12 months following the deadly December 26 tremor in the Iranian city of Bam that has claimed an estimated 30,000 lives, Armenpress reported January 14.

The seismologists said the area that may be hit by a new quake encompasses the South Caucasus including Armenia, as well as Turkey, Central Asia, Pakistan and Iraq and claimed that there are clear indications of a new wave of seismic activity traveling across the region.

In the coming years the World Bank plans to realize five new credit programs in Armenia, totaling $75 million, PanARMENIAN.Net reported January 15.

The first credit program of $12 million will be assigned for state administration reform. The rest of the credit will be spent on reform of public health, increasing the efficiency of the system of provision of pensions, the restoration of the system of drinking water supply, and on reforming the secondary and higher education in Armenia.



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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Plowed Under

Heavy snow has made it a week of digging out, including scrapping the white stuff from the new walkways on Republic Square.




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