Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... Henrikh's goal

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan gets his first Old Trafford goal to down Spurs | 

Armenian districts reinstating peace in Syria’s Aleppo

Hripsime Hovhannsiyan

The Armenian districts in Syria’s economic capital, Aleppo, are slowly recovering from war devastations, says Zarmik Boghigian, the editor-in-chief of the local Armenian weekly Gandzasar.

“After liberating different parts of the city from rebels’ control, the municipal authorities rapidly embarked on rehabilitation efforts,” he told, ruling out the local Armenians’ return in the nearest future .

“Those who have relatives and friends have decided to return, but we do not have assurances that all can be back now. The city is only now recovering, with lots of parts still lying in ruins.”

Boghigian added that the local authorities are also recovering the local industries, economy, and electricity and water supply in an attempt to return the city to its normal life.

“But safety is in the first place, for which we have no certainty. There are still several districts which will be hopefully liberated in the couple of days to come,” he said.
Rocket hits Gulbenkian Birthing Center-Hospital in Aleppo 

The intensive shelling of several neighborhoods of Aleppo do not cease in spite of the advances made by the Syrian army forces who have taken control of the major part of the city.

As PERIO NEWS reports, on 8 December, after the noon a rocket stroke Vergine Gulbenkian Birthing Center-Hospital in Nor Gyugh. The explosion left one person dead and several injured. The source also notes the building of the Armenian Elderly House has also sustained damages but fortunately no casualties were reported. Currently reconstruction works are underway. 
Armenia’s IT sector needs 3,000-4,000 skilled personal
December 12.

Armenia’s IT sector needs currently three-four thousand skilled personnel, according to executive director of Synopsys Armenia Hovik Musayelyan. In his words, the only problem that hinders the development of IT sector in Armenia is the lack of high-skilled personnel.
Speaking to journalists as transport, communication and IT minister Vahan Martirosyan visited the company today, Musaelyan said universities in Armenia are not able to prepare personnel who immediately after graduation will be in demand.

"We are implementing a variety of educational programs with universities , for example, together with National Polytechnic University we are running the department of microelectronic circuits and systems, and I think that the use of such models can give excellent results", - he said.

"Some 300 people are being trained now in our company, 200 of them are students from the Polytechnic University,’ he said, adding that dozens of students get jobs in Synopsys Armenia, and 45% of the workforce are former students of the company.

According to 2015 data, Armenia’s IT sector has 500 companies, which provide an annual growth of 20-25%. The share of IT sector in Armenia's GDP is 3.8%. -0-
World Bank revises to zero its economic growth outlook for Armenia in 2016
December 9.

The World Bank has revised downwards its economic growth outlook for Armenia for 2016 to zero from its previous forecast of 1.9%, Gohar Gyulumyan, World Bank Co-Task Team Leader of the Project, said today

Gyulumyan described economic developments in the country in recent months as ‘disappointing’, saying after a 4.5% growth reported for the first quarter of the year things began to worsen dramatically from July.

She cited official data, which say that the economy declined in the third quarter by 2.8% compared to the same period of 2015.

"Based on these figures we are revising our forecasts. Still in October, we expected the growth to be 2.4% for 2016, and 2.8% for 2017, and up to 3% in the medium term. Now based on the indicators for January-October, when the economic activity index was only 0.4%, we have also revised our forecasts, according to which we do not expect positive economic growth in Armenia for this year, which in the best case may be zero, "- said Gyulumyan.

At that she stressed that based on data from a World Bank study, the GDP growth in 2017 will not exceed 2%. -0-

RFE/RL Report
Amenia Gets More Loans From IMF, World Bank
December 09, 2016

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have allocated over $71
million in fresh loans to Armenia which will be mostly used for
financing its budget deficit that has widened this year due to
worse-than-expected tax collection.

The bank said on Friday that its budgetary loan worth $50 million will
support a "wide range of reforms" promised by the Armenian
authorities. "This operation will help to improve the country's
competitiveness and business environment, and enhance employment
opportunities", the head of its Yerevan office, Laura Bailey, said in
a statement.

The World Bank funding was announced the day after the Armenian
parliament approved the 2017 state budget envisaging major cuts in
public spending. The government hopes to rein in the budget deficit
which is expected to equal about 6 percent of GDP this year because of
a shortfall in tax revenue reflecting sluggish economic growth.

The IMF approved of the fiscal measures planned by the government when
it disbursed late on Wednesday a fresh $21.2 million installment of a
$112 million lending program for Armenia launched in March 2014.

The IMF's three year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) is designed to
support macroeconomic stability in the country. The latest
disbursement raised to $90 million million the total amount of EFF
funding made available to the government and the Central Bank of
Armenia to date.

"The authorities remain committed to fiscal consolidation and debt
sustainability, as embodied in their fiscal rule, which aims to ensure
that debt remains below 60 percent of GDP over the medium term," said
David Lipton, the fund's first deputy managing director. "In this
context, they have developed a fiscal consolidation plan for 2017 and

Lipton also stressed that "further structural reforms" are essential
for a faster growth of the Armenian economy. "Strengthening domestic
competition and regulatory reforms are pivotal to creating a more
broad-based, private sector-led economy," he said.

Both lending institutions again praised Armenia's new and
comprehensive Tax Code that was enacted this summer over strong
opposition objections. Armenian opposition lawmakers denounced its
provisions envisaging higher taxes on fuel, alcohol and tobacco as
well as increases in income tax levied from many employees.

"The new Code is a major step forward in the tax policy reform,"
insisted Gohar Gyulumyan, a World Bank official in Yerevan.

"By revisiting the level and structure of income taxes, reducing the
number of exemptions and tax gaps, increasing excise taxes and
strengthening coverage of high-wealth individuals and large companies,
the Code will lead to higher revenue mobilization in the medium-term,"
she said.
Prussian Carp Reserves Reduced Twice in Lake Sevan Because of Non-Regulated Hunting and Illegal Fishing
Because of non-regulated and poaching the reserves of even Prussian carp have reduced around twice. To ensure natural reproduction of the fish the fishing and crawfish hunting was banned in Lake Sevan from 1 to 25 December and from 6 to 20 January 2017.

The same temporary ban refers to all the fish. After the end of the ban it’s permitted to fish the Prussian Carp and crawfish.

As Sevak Baloyan, Head of Animal Resource Management Department of Nature Protection Ministry, informed EcoLur, the trout is a red-listed species and its fishing is banned as long as it gets out of the Red Book of Armenia and has industrial reserves. The fishing of the whitefish will be banned by Nature Protection Ministry as long as the National Academy of Sciences permits its industrial fishing.

Bardukh Gabrielyan, Director of Scientific Center for Zoology and Hyroecology of NAS RA, informed EcoLur that the industrial reserves of the fish in Lake Sevan made up 450 tons in 2016. In order to permit whitefish fishing its reserves need to make at least 1000 tons. Reminder: in the Soviet years the industrial reserves of the whitefish in Lake Sevan made up 30,000 tons. As of 2016, the industrial reserve of the trout in Lake Sevan is 1.5 tons. In order to permit the fishing of this species, it should get out of the Red Book and have at least 1000 tons of industrial reserves to permit the hunting.

As of 016, the industrial reserves of the crawfish made up 4500 tons, the Prussian carp – 100 tons, which is lower about twice as compared with the last year. In 2015 the industrial reserves made up 190 tons.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Armenia at Twenty-Five: A Rough Ride
December 07, 2016 

Summary: The sustainability of Armenia’s model of partial democracy is being challenged by growing popular dissatisfaction and a looming generational turnover.

Armenia is at a juncture. Its economy is not meeting the needs of its population, forcing many to leave the country. The International Organization for Migration estimated that 23.7 percent of all Armenian citizens lived outside the country in 2015—likely one of the main reasons why the Armenian government created a Ministry of Diaspora in 2008. The bulk of these people live in Russia, solidifying the economic and people-to-people ties between the two countries. About 500,000 fewer people live in Armenia today than did during the late Soviet era. Most Armenian migrants generally leave the country during their prime working years . Some never return. This outbound migration deprives Armenia of talent and initiative, impeding its ability to develop a productive economy. The country’s geographic isolation and its closed borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey add to its economic woes, as do high levels of corruption, a weak judiciary, an opaque political system, and the persistent threat of war.

Armenia is actively seeking partnerships with China, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States to help boost trade and investment, but is doing so in a way that does not alienate Russia. Yerevan’s problem, however, is that these countries generally do not see Armenia as the main prize in a region with the untapped potential of Iran, the huge market of Turkey, or the more welcoming investor climate and geographic location of Georgia. Moscow also has warned Armenia not to stray too far from its orbit—a clear message from Armenia’s security guarantor at a time of geopolitical uncertainty spanning from the Middle East to Central Asia.

While this geopolitical environment is complex, ultimately it is the social upheaval seen in Armenia over the last few years that should unnerve the political establishment. The events of July 2016 suggest Armenian society is frustrated and has little trust in the political establishment’s ability to solve the country’s growing problems. President Sargsyan responded in the fall of 2016 by reshuffling the government in an attempt to put forward fresh and capable faces before the 2017 parliamentary elections. Some of those senior officials are European or U.S.-educated , while others, such as the prime minister, are seen as closer to Moscow —a clear indication Sargsyan hopes to continue Armenia’s delicate foreign policy balance.

However, what happens to Armenia after the current president’s term ends in 2018 remains to be seen. Amid growing discontent with the status quo and competition among rival political factions, Sargsyan’s purported plan to move to the prime minister’s office in order to remain at the helm—as some believe he intends to do—could prove risky. If he does not, all eyes will be on one of those new, fresh faces, adding to the mounting expectations of change.

About the Russia and Eurasia Program

The Carnegie Russia and Eurasia Program has, since the end of the Cold War, led the field of Eurasian security, including strategic nuclear weapons and nonproliferation, development, economic and social issues, governance, and the rule of law.

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