Armenia 31st by level of economic freedom among 179 countries

According to Economic Freedom Index 2009 published by American Heritage Foundation, the level of trade freedom in Armenia increased by 14.4 percentage points up to 86.4% in 2008. Armenia scored 69 points out of 100 possible, versus the 70 point score last year.
According to ARKA report, the Heritage Foundation specialists say Armenia’s inadequate infrastructure and the customs system’s unpredictable valuation, inefficient administration, and level of corruption add to the cost of trade. Ten points were deducted from Armenia’s trade freedom score to account for non-tariff barriers.

Consul General Liloyan visits Los Angeles jail

inmatesThere are speculations about thousands of Armenian nationals imprisoned in US, although I haven’t been able to find any reliable data just yet.
The press release that was brought to my attention yesterday is interesting and somewhat funny in this regard: “On January 10, 2009 Consul General of Armenia in Los Angeles Armen Liloyan visited North County Correctional Facility to meet with Armenian inmates and to see their detention conditions.”
“Speaking to more than 30 present inmates, who expect their trial in
the jail, Consul General briefed them about the responsibilities of
the Consulate General in protecting the interests of the citizens of
Armenia abroad.”
Sadly, the press release doesn’t say anything about what those responsibilities are – would be quite useful to know if one day I finally decide to give up living in Armenia and move somewhere with ‘less cultural heritage’ and patriotic bull-shit, but decent living conditions.
The funny point in the press release comes after: “He also touched upon Armenia’s development perspectives and outlined the foreign policy challenges in the region.” Right! Like they care 😀 I mean, if those guys cared about Armenia’s development perspectives and foreign policy, they wouldn’t be in US and sitting in jail in the first place, right?
“The Armenian diplomat conveyed his New Year and Christmas greetings to the inmate community and encouraged them to remain faithful Armenians, full of hope and good expectations.”  OK – so now we find out that there is a whole inmate community!
And the final touches: “The meeting was followed by a dinner offering different recipes of Armenian cuisine and accompanied by live Armenian music.” Isn’t that sweet? 🙂 Continue reading “Consul General Liloyan visits Los Angeles jail”

Armenia: PACE co-rapporteurs make monitoring visit

Georges Colombier (France, EPP/CD) and John Prescott (United Kingdom, SOC), co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the monitoring of obligations and commitments by Armenia, will be in Yerevan on 15 January 2009, for a follow-up visit in connection with the implementation of PACE Resolutions 1609 (2008) and 1620 (2008) on the functioning of democratic institutions in Armenia.
The co-rapporteurs expect to meet the President of the Republic, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the leader of the Armenian delegation to PACE, the Chair of the parliamentary committee set up in the wake of the events on 1 and 2 March 2008 and the committee of experts responsible for establishing the facts regarding these events, as well as the General Prosecutor. Their report is due to be debated during the Assembly plenary session, on 29 January.
Following the report made by the co-rapporteurs to the meeting of  Monitoring Committee of the PACE on December 17 in Paris, the Committee had expressed concern with limited progress on the provisions of resolutions 1609 and 1620 and voted for a proposal to deprive the Armenian delegation to the PACE from its voting rights to be considered in the Assembly plenary session in January.
Since no visible progress can be seen thus far, following the weeks after December 17, I wonder how will the Armenian officials persuade the co-rapporteurs to amend their report in favor of Armenia.
As a sign of desparate attempts by Armenian officials to avert the PACE decision to curb Armenian voting rights, the head of Armenian Parliament Hovik Abrahamyan has recently sent a letter to the PACE member countries’ heads of parliament, asking their support in voting against the possible resolution against Armenia.

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