Friday, January 23, 2009

NKR vice premier Armo Tsatouryan released from post

Our good friend Armo Tsatouryan, the minister who told us all about the problems with the Armenia Fund and the NKR government has been released from his post. I thought this was going to happen long ago, but Armo was able to hold his post until now.


Azat Artsakh Daily
21 Jan 09
Republic of Nagorno Karabakh [NKR]

On 19 January NKR President Bako Sahakyan signed a decree releasing vice-premier, minister of agriculture Armo Tsatouryan from the post of vice premier. According to another presidential decree the duties of vice premiership are entrusted to finance minister Spartak Tevosyan.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Where Have All The Leaders Gone? - - A Wake-up Call to Action

Remember Lee Iacocca, the man who rescued Chrysler Corporation from its death throes? He's now 82 years old and has a new book, 'Where Have All The Leaders Gone?'.

Though he is talking about America, much of which he states below can be applied to Armenia and probably most nations in the "civilized" world.

Lee Iacocca Says:

'Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder! We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, 'Stay the course.'

Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned, 'Titanic'. I'll give you a sound bite: 'Throw all the bums out!'

You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore.

The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're fiddling in Iraq , the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving 'pom-poms' instead of asking hard questions. That's not the promise of the 'America' my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about you?

I'll go a step further. You can't call yourself a patriot if you're not outraged. This is a fight I'm ready and willing to have. The Biggest 'C' is Crisis! (Iacocca elaborates on nine C's of leadership, with crisis being the first.)

Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It's easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else's kids off to war when you've never seen a battlefield yourself. It's another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down.

On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. A hell of a mess, so here's where we stand.

We're immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving.

We're running the biggest deficit in the history of the country.

We're losing the manufacturing edge to Asia, while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs.

Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy. Our schools are in trouble.

Our borders are like sieves.

The middle class is being squeezed every which way.

These are times that cry out for leadership.

But when you look around, you've got to ask: 'Where have all the leaders gone?' Where are the curious, creative communicators? Where are the people of character, courage, conviction, omnipotence, and common sense? I may be a sucker for alliteration, but I think you get the point.

Name me a leader who has a better idea for homeland security than making us take off our shoes in airports and throw away our shampoo?

We've spent billions of dollars building a huge new bureaucracy, and all we know how to do is react to things that have already happened.

Name me one leader who emerged from the crisis of Hurricane Katrina. Congress has yet to spend a single day evaluating the response to the hurricane or demanding accountability for the decisions that were made in the crucial hours after the storm.

Everyone's hunkering down, fingers crossed, hoping it doesn't happen again. Now, that's just crazy. Storms happen. Deal with it. Make a plan. Figure out what you're going to do the next time.

Name me an industry leader who is thinking creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in manufacturing. Who would have believed that there could ever be a time when 'The Big Three' referred to Japanese car companies? How did this happen, and more important, what are we going to do about it?

Name me a government leader who can articulate a plan for paying down the debit, or solving the energy crisis, or managing the health care problem. The silence is deafening. But these are the crises that are eating away at our country and milking the middle class dry.

I have news for the gang in Congress. We didn't elect you to sit on your asses and do nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with mediocrity. What is everybody so afraid of? That some bonehead on Fox News will call them a name? Give me a break. Why don't you guys show some spine for a change?

Had Enough? Hey, I'm not trying to be the voice of gloom and doom here. I'm trying to light a fire. I'm speaking out because I have hope - I believe in America. In my lifetime, I've had the privilege of living through some of America 's greatest moments. I've also experienced some of our worst crises: The 'Great Depression,' 'World War II,' the 'Korean War,' the 'Kennedy Assassination,' the 'Vietnam War,' the 1970's oil crisis, and the struggles of recent years culminating with 9/11.

If I've learned one thing, it's this: 'You don't get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action. Whether it's building a better car or building a better future for our children, we all have a role to play. That's the challenge I'm raising in this book. It's a "Call to Action" for people who, like me, believe in America'. It's not too late, but it's getting pretty close. So let's shake off the crap and go to work. Let's tell 'em all we've had 'enough.'

Monday, January 12, 2009

Net foreign debt of Armenia increases by 84.05 million dollars to 1 billion 219.17 million dollars in 3rd quarter of 2008

The gross foreign debt of Armenia made 3 bln 176.55 mln USD at the end of September 2008, growing by 24.38 mln USD as compared with the end of June 2008.

According to the RA National Statistical Service, 42.4% of the gross foreign debt formed in the state government system, 16.4% in the private sector, 5.9% in the monetary and credit regulation bodies, 25.5% in commercial banks, and 10.1% of the debt formed from direct foreign investments received as interfirm credits by organizations in various sectors of the economy.

The gross foreign assets of Armenia made 1 bln 957.38 mln USD at the end of September 2008, decreasing by 59.67 mln USD in the third quarter of 2008. As a result, the net foreign debt of the country grew by 84.05 mln USD to 1 bln 219.17 mln USD.

Courier services in Armenia suffer losses for toughened customs control and citizens have to forget about good tradition of receiving parcels from abr

2009-01-10 17:02:00

Citizens of Armenia have to forget about the good tradition of receiving parcels from relatives in abroad. Now parcel-receiving procedures is no longer a pleasant surprise but 'a distressful trial'. In addition, business of courier services is suffering decline.

Executive Officer of DHL Worldwide Express Office in Armenia Emma Beluyan told ArmInfo demand for the company's services suffers decline due to the compulsory requirement to deliver the cargoes imported into the country by a courier service to the customs terminal. The number of complains by recipients is growing at an exponential rate. She said demand for DHL services in Armenia has fallen 10 percent recently.

Earlier, recipients were just required to pay the necessary fee for door-to-door delivery and sign the necessary documents of the courier to confirm the delivery. Now, signature is not enough. 'Incompliance with amendments to the customs legislation made last year, a courier company has a right to deliver only letters and documents to recipients. Any other type of cargo even if it costs just $1 US dollar, a courier is to inform the recipient of the delivery to Armenia, in particular, to the customs terminal. Recipients are required to sign documents informing about the delivery', E. Beluyan said. Afterwards a procedure begins identical to the procedure of customs clearance with usual queue often like the confusion of Babylon. After a recipient finally reaches its turn to receive parcel, it may turn out that he is not enough informed of the parcel content and has to pay certain amount, sometimes not just a symbolic amount of the parcel value. Thus, any personal goods received by a citizen not for commercial activity is subject to customs clearance. DHL offers broker services to the recipients for 35,000 drams ($114) exclusive of customs duty.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Armenian Appeals Court upholds Igityan fraud conviction; Najarians celebrate long-awaited victory

YEREVAN, Armenia (TerryPress News) Dec. 29, 2008 – In a landmark decision following more than five years of legal maneuvering and delays, the Armenian Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling in favor of an Armenian-American couple who were victims of a multi-million dollar swindle.

“We are thrilled, as you can imagine,” said philanthropist George Najarian who, along with his wife, Dr. Carolann Najarian, had been cheated out of real estate in Yerevan now worth an estimated $3 million. “It will take time for the reality of this verdict to sink in and become part of our new reality.”

The Dec. 24 appellate decision is now final. Convicted Armenian con artist Grigor Igityan is to be imprisoned for 4½ years. He is ordered to return all properties taken from the Najarians. Igityan was free on his own recognizance and is now at large.

“We have to say a word of thanks first to our attorneys, Ashot Boghossian and Hrayr Goughashyan, who never gave up hope,” said Dr. Najarian. “Even when their lives were threatened, their careers were threatened, these two young men were steadfast in their belief that justice would be served.”

This case dates back to 1996 when, at the urging of Igityan, the Najarians purchased a photo shop on Abovian Street in central Yerevan.

Over the next two years, the Najarians invested in the development of other property in Yerevan for residential and commercial use, including offices for their non-profit medical aid organization, the Armenian Health Alliance. The two agreed that the Americans would provide the money and that Igityan would do the work.

In 2001, Igityan, illegally privatized all of the Najarian properties in his own name. After two years of attempting to resolve the situation out of court, the Najarians filed a criminal suit against Igityan with the Yerevan City Prosecutor’s office.

The case was repeatedly dismissed and re-instated amid suspicions of powerful, behind-the-scenes pressures. On Sept. 13, 2008, the Court of First Intention found Igityan guilty on all counts of theft and fraud against the Najarians.

Igityan was a translator who had attached himself as an assistant to George Najarian following the Spitak earthquake. The American couple are very involved in humanitarian activities throughout Armenia.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

U.S. Must Cut Aid to Israel

The $3 billion a year that the U.S. provides to Israel in aid goes to their military. According to the rules that are tied to the aid, any military spending of said money can only be used in defense. What is going on in Gaza is not defense, but offense. Israel is clearly in violation of the rules that the U.S. has tied to their aid to Israel, thus they are required to cut all aid to Israel. Now will they do this? I don't think Bush will, but would hope that one of Obama's first act will be just that.