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Armen Rustamyan: Opposition must nominate a joint candidate for Yerevan's Mayor
 Tuesday, April 30 2013 14:35

The opposition must nominate a joint candidate for Yerevan's Mayor, the ARFD's nominee Armen Rustamyan said on Tuesday during his meeting with the other candidates - Mesrop Arakelyan from Arakelutyun, Armen Martirosyan from Barev Yerevan Bloc, Vartan Oskanian from Prosperous Armenia and Vahagn Khachatryan from Armenian National Congress.

He urged them not to vote for the ruling party and to consolidate around one opposition candidate. The candidates promised to do so.



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Municipality of Yerevan: Control Chamber of Armenia registers flaws, not abuses in Yerevan Municipality's work
 Tuesday, April 30 2013 14:33

 The Armenian Control Chamber's inspection in the Yerevan Municipality has revealed not abuses, but flaws that may arise in any voluminous work, the Municipality of Yerevan says in response to the statement posted on the Control Chamber's website.   

The press service of the Municipality reports that some flaws were revealed in construction and renovation operations, however, the situation has been improved.

As regards the case related to the activities of Nor Barekargum CJSC, which is under jurisdiction of the Municipality responsible for creation of green zones on the slope adjacent to Isakov Avenue, this cannot be viewed as abuse because having stated the fact that the trees has dried up, the Municipality of Yerevan did not give that company a single penny for the work done.

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Members of the European Parliament Visit the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex
 Tuesday, April 30 2013 14:32

On April 30 the members of the delegation of the Conservatives and Reformists Group of the European Parliament visited Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex and laid flowers at the Memorial of the Armenian Genocide victims, honored the memory of one and a half million innocent victims with a minute of silence.

The press service of the Armenian Parliament reports that the members of the delegation had also been at the Armenian Genocide Museum- Institute, got acquainted with the documents ensuring the Armenian Genocide and observed the exhibit items.

The Head of the delegation Martin Callanan left the following note in the Commemoration Book: "It's very important that all of us, the politicians do our best in order such thing will never happen. Those, who forget the history, are doomed of again making mistakes."

Sharing his impressions with the journalists Martin Callanan noted:  "Terrible events have taken place. It is important for modern policy that we will learn lessons from all this, what happened in the past not to be repeated."

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RPA member: Some members of Armenian National Congress who formerly were part of the ruling Armenian National Movement got rich shortly after coming into power
 Tuesday, April 30 2013 14:07

The head of the parliamentary group of the Republican Party of Armenia Galust Sahakyan says that before accusing Mayor of Yerevan Taron Margaryan of corruption some members of the Armenian National Congress better remember the times when they were in power as part of the Armenian National Movement.

"Having come into power with just slippers on their feet, they very quickly got rich at the expense of the country and now they are trying to shift responsibility onto people like Margaryan," Sahakyan said.

He said that the huge incomes declared by the mayor are the result of his hard work. "He did not mention the sources because they are not registered to his name but he specified how much he has earned from those businesses," Sahakyan said. 

The opposition's charge followed Margaryan's property declaration saying that he has a capital of $6mln though his monthly wage is just 130,000 AMD.

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Another businessman from Diaspora falls victim to insatiable appetites of Armenian power representatives
 Tuesday, April 30 2013 11:11

 Another businessman from Diaspora George Baghumyan has fallen a victim to the insatiable appetites of Armenian power representatives. Baghumyan died at the Nubarashen penitentiary, his lawyer Mushegh Shushanyan told media, on April 30. 

"My client has been under arrest at the Nubarashen penitentiary from Oct 27 2012 up to his death on April 25 2013. We thrice filed petitions for Baghumyan's release on bail due to his poor health. However, Judge of the Center and Nork-Marash First Instance Court Edik Avetisyan rejected all our petitions, which was equal to a death penalty for Baghumyan. In the meanwhile, at his 65 Baghumyan suffered a heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure and was on the verge of death on the last days of his life. And his victimizers were well aware of his state," Shushanyan said.

He said Baghumyan was accused of tax evasion and illegal keeping of weapons, which was not a reason for his arrest and custody. In the meanwhile, Baghumyan did not receive relevant medical assistance at the penitentiary for lack of medical personnel - there is only one nurse for 1200 prisoners at the Nubarashen penitentiary.

"This is a system problem. It is a shame on the Armenian justice. Minister Hrayr Tovmasyan had better resign after that incident. The leadership of the penitentiary was to transfer Baghumyan at least to the Penitentiary hospital, but did not. All them must be brought responsible," the lawyer said.

Shushanyan believes that the arrest and the criminal case against Baghumyan pursued a goal to deprive him of his property, specifically, an enterprise producing accumulator batteries for the Defense Ministry.  Baghumyan's father founded the enterprise in the course of the Artsakh war.

The lawyer thinks that Baghumyan's arrest was groundless. He said that Baghumyan was accused of tax evasion in the amount of 16 million drams that grew to 41 million drams after various fines, pennies etc.  Considering that all the employees of Baghumyan's enterprise, first of all, accountant Bahan Amiryan, were just witnesses in the case and were not arrested, the lawyer assesses the case against Baghumyan as targeted and biased.

Baghumyan's brother, Serge Baghumyan, says that in the course of the investigation he was demanded a 10 million drams bribe for Baghumyan's release from arrest. He did not name anyone, however. The lawyer Shushanyan, in turn, named some persons indirectly involved in the death of his client. Shushanyan said that he will demand criminal cases against Investigator of the State Revenue Committee Edgard Antonyan, Investigator of the Prosecutor's Office Bagrat Petrosya, Judge of the Center and Nork Marash First Instance Court  Edik Avetisyan and Judge of the Court of Appeal Ararat Petrosyan.

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Newspaper: Gagik Tsarukyan prefers 'neither authorities nor opposition'
 Tuesday, April 30 2013 09:04

A Yerevan-based 168-Zham newspaper reports that after Tigran Sargsyan was appointed Prime Minister of Armenia, business representatives of the Prosperous Armenia Party have been making efforts of reconciliation with him. In the meanwhile, the political wing of the party offers a tougher political course, for instance, Vartan Oskanian offers joining the opposition, the paper writes.    

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Newspaper: Former prime minister was in Armenia to make preparations for Prince Charles' visit
 Tuesday, April 30 2013 09:03

 A Yerevan-based Hraparak newspaper writes that Former prime minister of Armenia, co-author of Yerevan My Love Fund, Armen Sargsyan arrived in Armenia together with the Buckingham Palace security chamber delegation to make preparations for the visit of Prince Charles to Armenia. Sargsyan is the organizer of the current visit as well. 

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Supervisory Chamber finds misappropriations at Yerevan municipality
 Tuesday, April 30 2013 09:00

The Supervisory Chamber of Armenia found some misappropriations at the Yerevan Municipality.

According to the website of the Supervisory Chamber, inspection of the construction and repair of 22 facilities revealed that 8.2 million drams out of 510.34 million drams spent on construction were just embezzled. In addition, 24.8 million drams were spent on unsatisfactory construction. The Chamber revealed embezzlement of funds in the range of 10 million drams by Nor Barekargum Company established by the Municipality.

Earlier on Monday, the Armenian National Congress blamed Yerevan mayor Taron Margaryan for swindle and money laundering.

Deputy chairman of ANC party, the head of the ANC parliamentary faction, Levon Zurabyan, said in press-conference:  "Today we sent a letter to Armenia's Prosecutor General's office with a request to file a lawsuit against Margaryan under the article  - swindle. We ask law-enforcement agencies of Armenia to hold the relevant investigation and to bring Yerevan mayor to responsibility."

He also added that specific facts were submitted, based on income declarations presented by Margaryan in 2005, 2007 and 2013. In particular, according to the declaration, in 2005 being the head of Avan community of Yerevan, Margaryan earned about 7 million 400 thsd drams, but in 2007 he earned 54 mln drams, $50 thsd and bought jewelry for 80 mln drams, though his salary was 130 thsd drams (about $310). Moreover, in 2013 Margaryan declared his property at $6 mln, though actually his property exceeds $10 mln. In 2013 Margaryan earned 115 mln drams, $50 thsd and 50thsd EUR, several motor-cars, dozens of houses in Yerevan, etc, Zurabyan said. "So, thanks to simple mathematics and taking into consideration the fact that Margaryan had no extra revenues, one can say that the given funds were got by means of swindle", - Zurabyan said.

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Vartan Oskanian, if elected, is going to attract foreign investments and grants for development of Yerevan's economy
 Monday, April 29 2013 15:18

The mayor of Yerevan should personally tackle the problems of ordinary citizens. It is necessary to change the philosophy of municipal governance, Vartan Oskanian, MP from the Prosperous Armenia Party, candidate for mayor of Yerevan, said at today's press conference. 

He said that the goals of ordinary residents of Yerevan differ from those of the city authorities. "During our numerous meeting with the residents of Yerevan, I have repeatedly seen how simple and at the same time how acute their problems are. They are simple because they can be solved in no time by means of the funds of the Municipality; and they are acute because they have been unresolved for many years. The mayor should be aware of all the affairs concerning the capital", said Oskanian. He pointed out that, if elected, he is going to attract foreign investments and grants for development of Yerevan's economy, using all the foreign contacts he established when he was the foreign minister of Armenia.   

Oskanian believes that one of such important goals is to improve the living conditions of the simple residents of Yerevan. "The mayor of Yerevan should organize an open day for the residents once a week at least to listen to them and give a solution to their urgent problems. The mayor should take public transport at least twice or thrice a week to see what is going on in the transport sphere", he stressed.

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Armenian National Congress blames Taron Margaryan for swindle and money laundering
 Monday, April 29 2013 14:13

 Armenian National Congress blames Yerevan mayor Taron Margaryan for swindle and money laundering, deputy chairman of ANC party, the head of the ANC parliamentary faction, Levon Zurabyan, said at today's press-conference. 

"Today we sent a letter to Armenia's Prosecutor General's office with a request to file a lawsuit against Margaryan under the article  - swindle. We ask law-enforcement agencies of Armenia to hold the relevant investigation and to bring Yerevan mayor to responsibility", - he said. 

He also added that specific facts were submitted, based on income declarations presented by Margaryan in 2005, 2007 and 2013. In particular, according to the declaration, in 2005 being the head of Avan community of Yerevan, Margaryan earned about 7 million 400 thsd drams, but in 2007 he earned 54 mln drams, $50 thsd and bought jewelry for 80 mln drams, though his salary was 130 thsd drams (about $310). Moreover, in 2013 Margaryan declared his property at $6 mln, though actually his property exceeds $10 mln. In 2013 Margaryan earned 115 mln drams, $50 thsd and 50thsd EUR, several motor-cars, dozens of houses in Yerevan, etc, Zurabyan said. "So, thanks to simple mathematics and taking into consideration the fact that Margaryan had no extra revenues, one can say that the given funds were got by means of swindle", - Zurabyan said. 

Zurabyan also pointed at numerous evidences of the fact that government procurement for provision of urban amenities were bought by several times more expensive than their market price. This means stealing of the Yerevan budget, Zurabyan said and added that ANC is under no illusion regarding Prosecutor General's office, but has applied to the office to show that the accusations against RPA members are not groundless.  "Now nobody can say that we do not have evidence. They were submitted to the Prosecutor General's office. And now it should present heavy rejoinder or take relevant measures regarding the criminal", - he said. 

To note, "Barev Yerevan" bloc, initiated by the leader of the  Heritage party Raffi Hovannisian, has also applied to the Prosecutor General's office with a similar lawsuit. 

During today's meeting of Taron Margaryan in Avan district of Yerevan journalists asked him to comment on the above mentioned lawsuit, and he recommended them to apply to his press-secretary Shushan Sardaryan with all the questions. However, all the attempts of Arminfo correspondent to get commentary on the issue from Sardaryan failed, as she did not answer calls.

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Oppositionist: Chief of Police has undertaken the role of the guardian angel of the ruling criminal-oligarchic regime
 Monday, April 29 2013 13:53

It seems that Chief of the Police Vladimir Gasparyan has undertaken the role of the guardian angel of the ruling criminal-oligarchic regime, Deputy Chairman of Armenian National Congress Party (ANC) Levon Zurabyan told journalists on Monday.

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Raffi Hovannisian: Armenian authorities will not govern for coming five years
 Monday, April 29 2013 13:23

The authorities of Armenia will not be governing for the coming five years, as they do not enjoy public support, Raffi Hovannisian, Leader of New Armenia opposition movement, told media, Monday.

"I'd not like to forecast the worst scenario, but I am sure that such situation cannot continue any more.  Either our country will finally desert, or the situation will improve," he said. The politician said that the further steps of New Armenia Movement depend on the developments after the elections to the Elders' Council of Yerevan.

Hovannisian said that during his visits to the regions he sees certain understatement and even disappointment. 
"Many people waited for a momentary victory. Many people wanted bloodshed. Fortunately, we avoided victims. I made some mistakes, indeed, but there are no faultless people," Hovannisian said.

On April 9 simultaneously with Serzh Sargsyan's swearing-in ceremony Raffi Hovannisian took an oath in front of the people in the Liberty Square and then organized a march along Baghramyan Street to the president's residency. As a result, there were clashes with the police. Heritage Party Deputy Head Armen Martirosyan was beaten up.  Hovannisian said that he does not plan a 'tit-for-tat response' to the politicians that stopped supporting the ]Movement after April 9. 

"We can save this country only through consolidation. As always, I am ready to cooperate nearly with all the political forces," the politician said. Hovannisian said he will be happy if the Pre-Parliament manages to consolidate the public and, maybe, do what has not been done yet.  
"One of the initiators of the Pre-Parliament is Zhirayr Sefilyan, the Karabakh war hero. If he manages to do what, maybe, I failed to do, I will be only happy," he said.

Hovannisian said that Barev Yerevan is not a rival to the opposition and is ready to cede the Liberty Square for other political forces to rally.

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Azerbaijani and Turkish deputy FMs to discuss Nagorno-Karabakh problem
 Monday, April 29 2013 13:23

 Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov will visit Ankara on April 30, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said today.

During the visit, Azimov will hold talks with Turkish Assistant Deputy Foreign Minister Fatih Ceylan. The bilateral relations and the situation around the Nagorno-Karabakh problem will be discussed at the meeting.

Asimov is expected to meet with Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu.

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Old building of Zvartnots Airport may be demolished
 Monday, April 29 2013 13:14

 The concessionary of Zavarnots Airport, Armenia International Airports, wants to demolish the airport's old building.
"They say it is in a bad condition but it has a high architectural value as an example of Soviet modernism," President of the Union of Architects of Armenia Mkrtych Minasyan told journalists on Monday.  He said that Yerevan's Municipality is also against this plan. "They better repair it than pull it down," Minasyan said.
The building was constructed in 1980. In 2002 Zvartnots Airport was committed to trust of Armenia International Airports, a company owned by Argentinean businessman Eduardo Eurnekian.

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Armenian FM presents Russian Ambassador with commemorative medal
 Monday, April 29 2013 13:14

 Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan met on Monday with Ambassador of Russia to Armenia Vyachelsav Kovalenko, who is completing his mission in the country.

The press service of Armenia's Foreign Ministry reports that Nalbandyan thanked Kovalenko for his active efforts to promote Armenian-Russian strategic relations and presented him with a commemorative medal.

Kovalenko said that he is proud to have contributed to the strengthening of Armenian-Russian ties and thanked Armenia's Foreign Ministry for supporting him throughout his mission.




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European Parliament Member: Artsakh - lighthouse of freedom founded on blood and victims of war
 Monday, April 29 2013 13:12

Artsakh - lighthouse of freedom founded on blood and victims of the war, said Head of the European Parliament's EU-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group, Dr. Eleni Theocharous, at the Nagorno Karabakh Republic National Assembly, the NKR NA press-service told ArmInfo. Earlier, members of the group visited NKR.

The Greek parliamentarian said that she was in Artsakh 25 years ago and now she is back to NKR as a member of the European Parliament and addresses the brave people of Artsakh at their Parliament. She said hat Artsakh is a prospering democracy and a country where people believe in freedom.  People fulfilled their duties of self-determination and freedom and they have managed to create a system of values based on the principles existing in the western civilization, she said. The parliamentarian said that as members of the European parliament they should work to prevent repetition of the history and preserve Artsakh free and proud.

A member of the French Parliament Valerie Boyer, in turn, said that Artsakh is based on the principles of freedom, democracy and self-determination, and the world should see how those principles are displayed in the NKR public.

"We must work together at the political, social, and cultural levels to help Artsakh and the people of Artsakh achieve justice and recognition they deserve," she said.

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Rosneft Company negotiating with Armenian Government for reactivation of Nairit Plant
 Monday, April 29 2013 13:10

 Rosneft Company, Russian, is currently negotiating with the Armenian Government for modernization and reactivation of Nairit Plant CJSC, the only producer of rubber in the CIS, Hrach Tadevosyan, Head of Nairit Plant Trade Union told several dozens of the plant's employees picketing the Government building on Monday.

Tadevosyan said that he met with the deputy minister of energy and natural resources of Armenia Ara Simonyan and introduced the demands of the picketers. In particular, the employees of the plant demand their salaries for the last two months and information on the fate of the plant that has been idling for already 3 years. He said that Rosneft Company leadership had recently met with the president and prime minister of Armenia and, as he was told in the government, the Russian company is currently studying the situation on the plant, the mechanisms of supply of raw materials and sales, as well as the financial situation. Big investments are in question, Tadevosyan said.

(It was reported earlier that the Russian petroleum company Rosneft and the Armenian Oil Techno CJSC signed an agreement on creation of a JV on April 4 in Yerevan). 

As regards the salaries, Tadevosyan said, the arrears for March will be repaid on Friday and those for April will be paid in May. The plant has been idling for three years. Arrears of wages for 11 months have been accumulated. The monthly salary fund is $1 million, Tadevosyan said. By data of the plant's press-service, the total debt of the company is nearly $120 million. These are mainly loan debts. Some employees of the plant say it is dangerous to reactivate the plant without prior technological modernization. The plant employs 2700 people, with 1300 being on enforced leave. The average monthly
salary at the plant is 157,000 drams.

In 2006, 90% of the shares of "Nairit" were sold to British Consortium Rhinoville Property Limited for 40 million US dollars. Rhinoville Property Limited holds 89,999% shares in the plant, the Armenian Ministry for Energy and Natural Resources - 4.496%, and ArmRusgasprom - 3.569%, Yerevan TPP - 1.907%.  The fixed assets of the plant and the major shareholder Rhinoville Property Limited were put in pledge at Mezhgosbank, Russia, and were transferred to the bank after the company failed to redeem the loan. The loan in the amount of $70 million was provided in 2006 on security of the plant
for a period of 5 years (till Dec 2011) at the annual interest rate of 12.5%.

Earlier Russian media reported that in May, the Moscow Arbitration Court will hear Mezhgosbank's lawsuit against the owner of Nairit Plant CJSC, Rhinoville Property Limited, in the amount of $25.183 million.

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Armenian parliament completes discussions on setting up of an ad hoc committee to investigate the March 1 2008 events
 Monday, April 29 2013 13:02

 At its today's session the Armenian parliament completed discussions on setting up of an ad hoc committee to investigate the March 1 2008 events, offered by the Armenian National Congress faction.

Galust Sahakyan, representing the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, offered to postpone the voting on the draft decision as they want to work on the draft decision together with the opposition. One of the authors if the bill, Gagik Jahangiryan,  agreed to offers presented by the ruling party and welcomed the initiative to postpone the vote to the next four-day parliamentary hearings. He said that the 1 March events were not solved, as active investigating actions were not taken.

To recall, on 15 March 2013 the Armenian Parliament's Committee on Legal and State Issues approved a bill on creation of an ad hocparliamentary committee for investigating the Mar 1 2008 events.

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Deputy from opposition: The shameful Armenian-Turkish Protocols should be removed from the agenda of the parliament
 Monday, April 29 2013 12:55

 The shameful Armenian-Turkish Protocols should be removed from the agenda of the parliament, a member of the opposition Heritage parliamentary faction, Zarui Postanjan, said in the parliament today and called on the speaker of the parliament Hovik Abrahamyan to make steps in this direction.  

For his part, Abrahamyan said this issue is beyond the competence of the speaker of the parliament. Postanjan replied that Abrahamyan is a politician and has got certain levers to help removing this issue from the agenda of the parliament, as he is the speaker of the parliament. "You should be concerned about the availability of such shameful protocols in the parliament. You can organize protest actions for its withdrawal, if you cannot use other levers", - she said.  Abrahamyan did not agree to Postanjan that the protocols are shameful. "If the protocols were ratified by the two countries, they would give a great opportunity to develop economy, as they are not linked with the Armenian genocide or other political processes. The borders should be opened without any pre-conditions. That is right. It would  give an impulse for development of Armenia's economy", - Abrahamyan said.

To note, the Armenian-Turkish Protocols were signed in Zurich on 10 October 2009, but were not ratified by the parliaments of Armenia and Turkey as the latter put forward pre-conditions for their ratification.

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