Armenia will need $2 billion to resolve energy efficiency problems

ARKA, Armenia
Feb 20 2020

YEREVAN, February 20. /ARKA/. Armenia will need at least $2 billion to resolve energy efficiency problems, Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan said at a government meeting on Thursday.

According to him, 60 energy efficiency projects are underway now involving both public and government buildings (overall, more than 1,560 buildings). He said when over these projects will allow to reduce energy costs by 55-60% on average.

"The bottom line is that package offers for residential buildings will allow their residents to reduce gas and electricity costs," Avinyan said.

In his words, this market is estimated at $2 billion, and therefore all partners, banks and other entities should be included in the implementation of energy efficiency projects.

Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures Suren Papikyan noted that energy efficiency  subvention projects are already being implemented in the provinces of the country together with the UN.

"We have now a proposal to improve energy efficiency systems in 115 buildings, which includes  coating and thermal insulation and will also make buildings more colourful," Papikyan said.

Minister of Environment Erik Grigoryan noted that the UN Green Climate Fund provided a grant of $20 million, of which $ 14 million will be allocated to energy-efficient projects in public and residential buildings.

He said many communities have already submitted subvention projects and, if approved this year, they will be implemented with the co-financing of the Fund. –0–

Armenian government releases 3.45 billion drams for constitutional referendum

ARKA, Armenia
Feb 20 2020

YEREVAN, February 20. /ARKA/. The Armenian government approved today the release of  3.477 billion drams from its Reserve Fund for holding a referendum on constitutional changes.

Earlier this month Armenia’s National Assembly, by a vote of 88 to 15, passed a bill approving a national referendum to amend the country’s constitution. The referendum seeks to modify Article 213 of the constitution and thus allow for the early termination of powers of Constitutional Court chairman Hrayr Tovmasyan and six other Court members.

Armenian President Armen Sarkissian signed a decree on February 9 setting April 5 as the date for the vote.  Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has accused the seven judges of the Court of maintaining ties to Armenia’s former leadership and impeding reforms aimed at creating an independent judiciary.

Campaigning for the referendum started on February 17 and is to end on April 3. According to Finance Minister Atom Janjughazyan, 2.553 billion drams will be provided to the Central Election Commission for the organization of the referendum and another 660 million drams are supposed to be spent on installing online video surveillance systems in 1.5 thousand polling stations. He also said that another 234 million drams will be allocated to the Police.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will take part in campaign to ask his fellow citizens to say 'yes' to the proposed changes. The campaign's headquarters will be speared by Minister of Territorial Development and Infrastructures Suren Papikyan.

The parliamentary opposition parties said they would boycott the referendum, however several dozens of lawyers announced their intention several days ago to campaign against the changes. ($1 – 478.63 dram). –0–

Damage amounting to AMD 21.1 billion inflicted to state by economic crimes in Armenia in 2019

ARKA, Armenia
Feb 20 2020

YEREVAN, February 20. /ARKA/. Damage to the state from crimes related to economic activity in amounted to AMD 21.1 billion in Armenia in 2019, which is 8.8% less than in 2018. This was reported by the press service of the Prosecutor General Office of Armenia.

According to the report, 9.5 billion drams were recovered from the amount of damage over the past year, which is 10.5% more than the previous year.

The State Revenue Committee alone revealed 15.9 billion drams of damage in 2019, of which 8.6 billion drams were recovered.

During the reporting year, 931 criminal cases were opened for crimes related to economic activity, which is 37% more than in 2018. Of these, 279 were instituted on the State Revenue Committee. Some 269 criminal cases were taken for consideration against 177 cases in 2018.

In total, in 2019, 1,200 criminal cases related to economic activity were investigated, 580 of which were in the State Revenue Committee in the event that in 2018, 857 cases were investigated in total. Thus, over the past year, the workload of the preliminary investigation bodies and prosecutors increased by 40%. At the same time, during 2019, 8.5% more criminal investigations were conducted than in the previous year.

Over the same period, 31 criminal cases against 39 people were sent to the court with indictment. Compared to 2018 (22 cases against 29 people), the growth of cases sent to court amounted to 36%, and the number of persons brought to court increased by 34.5%.

16 persons were convicted in 16 criminal cases related to economic crimes, 14 of which were imprisoned. At the same time, the number of criminal cases completed by a judicial decision increased by 23% compared to 2018, and the number of persons deprived of their liberty by 29%.

In order to eliminate the damage caused to the state in 2019, sanctions of 2.6 billion drams were imposed on the property and assets of the defendants. In addition, in the framework of the reviewed and completed criminal cases, the prosecutor's office filed lawsuits demanding seizure in favor of the state budget in the total amount of 160 million drams. All claims were satisfied.

In 2019, some 382 cases of evasion of tax, duties or other obligatory payments were investigated in the framework of legal proceedings, which is 188 cases or 33% less than in 2018. ($ 1 – 478.63 dram). –0—

Music: Iranian-Armenian maestro Loris Tjeknavorian composes song in memory of Ukrainian plane crash victims

Panorama, Armenia
Feb 20 2020
Culture 11:36 20/02/2020 Region

Legendary Iranian-Armenian composer and conductor Loris Tjeknavorian has composed a piece of music in commemoration of the Ukrainian plane crash victims, IRNA reported.

The song entitled “Requiem for UIA Flight 752” has been written to lament over the demise of the passengers of the plane.

Razmik Ohanian, Yarta Yaran, Ehsan Beiraghdar, Alireza Rad, Shahu Zandi, Naser Izadi as well as Bardia Sadr Nouri have collaborated on the project.

Commenting on the creation of the artwork, Tjeknavorian stated that converting his deep sorrow over the incident into a piece of art in no time was "a miracle".

Loris Tjeknavorian, born on 13 October 1937 in Borujerd, is an Iranian Armenian composer and conductor.

As one of the leading conductors of his generation, he has led international orchestras throughout the world such as in Austria, the UK, the USA, Canada, Hungary, Copenhagen, Iran, Finland, Russia, Armenia, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Denmark.

The Boeing 737-800 carrying 176 passengers was mistakenly shot down shortly after takeoff from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport on 8 January amid US-Iran tensions triggered by the murder of General Qassem Soleimani. 

Music: Prominent Armenian conductor Yuri Davtyan dies at 90

Panorama, Armenia
Feb 20 2020
Culture 15:21 20/02/2020 Armenia

Renowned Armenian conductor, Professor, People’s Artist of Armenia Yuri Davtyan has passed away at the age of 90, the Armenian National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet named after Alexander Spendiaryan reported.

Yuri Davtyan was the chief conductor of the Yerevan Opera Theater for many years. He led a number of famous orchestras and was involved in more than 30 operas and ballets in the theater.

The conductor was born on June 10, 1929 in the Armenian city of Kirovakan (now Vanadzor). He graduated from the Komitas State Conservatory of Yerevan in 1952. From 1953-1964 Davtyan was the conductor of the Yerevan Opera Theater, later becoming its chief conductor.

Yuri Davtyan also served as the chief conductor of Hakob Paronyan State Musical Comedy Theatre. Since 1969 he was a lecturer at the Komitas State Conservatory.

In 1972 Yuri Davtyan was awarded the title of Honored Art Worker of Armenia, in 1984 – the title of People's Artist of Armenia. 

Music: A decision is taken to merge the Center for Armenian Spiritual Music and the Komitas Museum Institute

Arminfo, Armenia
Feb 20 2020

ArmInfo. On February 20, at session of the Government of the Republic of Armenia, a decision was taken to merge the Center for Armenian Spiritual Music SNCO and the  Komitas Museum Institute SNCO.

According to the justification of the draft decision, both  organizations perform similar and similar functions. Their  reorganization will be carried out by joining the Center for Armenian  Spiritual Music to the Komitas MuseumInstitute. Thus, the Center will  become a branch of the Museum Institute, which was created aimed at  preserving and promoting the creative heritage of Komitas.

The project was developed by the RA Ministry of Education, Science,  Culture and Sports. It is expected that the aforementioned government  decision will help reduce state budget expenditures.

Film: The Armenian who symbolised France: Behind the scenes of Charles Aznavour

The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
Feb 20 2020
The Armenian who symbolised France: Behind the scenes of Charles Aznavour
By Jake Wilson
Aznavour by Charles screens as part of the French Fim Festival in March.

“It’s not usual to make a movie where you start with the footage and you don’t have a story,” says French filmmaker Marc di Domenico. “But at the same time, you do have a story, because this guy who did the footage is somebody very important.”
The guy di Domenico is talking about is none other than Charles Aznavour —singer, songwriter, actor, the son of Armenian immigrants who came to symbolise French culture to the world.
Aznavour was one of the most widely beloved of all 20th-century entertainers, and one of the most enduring: he started performing as a child in the 1930s, and gave his last concert in Japan in 2018, a month before his death.
Not so well known is the fact that besides acting for some of the great directors of French cinema — most famously, starring in Francois Truffaut’s 1960 new wave hit Shoot the Piano Player, which helped to launch him in the United States — Aznavour was also a filmmaker in his own right. From the late 1940s onward, he documented his world travels using a Bolex camera given to him by his mentor, the no less legendary singer Edith Piaf.
This material forms the substance of di Domenico’s documentary Aznavour by Charles, which paints a picture not just of Aznavour himself, but of the world as seen through Aznavour’s eyes: the steep streets of Montmartre where he lived as a young man, the busy streets of New York on his first visit, the lights of a Japanese TV studio, a trip down the Ubangi river in central Africa with straw huts perched on stilts above the water.
Di Domenico came to this project as a long-time friend of Aznavour’s son, Mischa, who is by his side to help promote the film (he looks strikingly like his father, though a little taller — Aznavour stood five foot two, and was sometimes referred to as “le petit Charles”).
His love of the French language, I think that’s what makes him French, and that’s what the people liked.
Mischa Aznavour
Through Mischa, di Domenico had known the Aznavour family since the 1990s, but he became closer to Charles when making an interview portrait for French TV.
“We spent a lot of time together, all day, every day, for three years. So that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, as in the end of Casablanca.”
It was then that di Domenico gained access to the footage Aznavour had shot over the decades. “I started to watch all this material, silent movies, and I was shocked by the quality,” di Domenico says. “He’s shooting in a little boat in Africa and I was thinking, 'wow, what is he doing here?' It’s interesting.”
Director Marc di Domenico used film shot by Charles Aznavour over decades to create the documentary Aznavour by Charles. 

Looking at all this, he says, changed his view of Aznavour, and yet confirmed some of the things he had felt all along. “He was telling me, 'the place where I feel best is the street', and when I saw this, I said to myself ‘That’s true.’ He was not lying. I can feel, he’s in the street, and it’s a pleasure for him to be there … not to be in places you’re supposed to be when you’re a star.”
This is quite different, he adds, from the impression created when today’s celebrities post photos or brief videos online. “When you do Instagram or Facebook, it’s just to say 'Oh, look at me, I’m eating a pizza, or I’m drinking a Coke.' This is not the way he’s shooting — he’s shooting the world. It’s outside him. It’s not him.”
The ability to be “present in real life,” di Domenico says, was also one of the keys to Aznavour’s success as a songwriter. “He had this intuition, naturally, to capture the way the society is moving.”
One example is his celebrated song What Makes A Man A Man, a frank protest against homophobia written from the point of view of a lonely female impersonator — not a subject many stars of his magnitude would have been game to tackle in 1972.
Given his long acting career, the pleasure he found in operating a camera and the fact that so many of his songs tell stories, I’m curious if Aznavour was ever tempted to try his hand at directing a film professionally.
“If he really wanted to do it, he would have,” di Domenico says. “But he didn’t have the time, because when he would do something, he was very serious. He was writing, then performing on stage, then recording, acting. To direct a movie, it’s three years.”
Mischa agrees. “He would have loved to be a director, but what he loved more was to interact with the audience.”
Di Domenico emphasises that for Aznavour, performing, like filming, was always a dialogue with the public. “He had the universality and the feeling of the people, the real people, the common people. He was not intellectual. All his lyrics could be studied in school today, but he was very simple, he hadn’t done any study in school.”
Despite this "universal" quality, Aznavour was often viewed as quintessentially French — which is paradoxical on a couple of levels, given that his parents came from elsewhere.
“He’s not French French,” Mischa says. “But his love of the French language, I think that’s what makes him French, and that’s what the people liked. When he came to America, when he came to Spain, he was always being French. Not trying to be…”
Aznavour by Charles goes deep behind the glitz and glamour, capturing Charles Aznavour as he lived.

“Maybe the accent also,” Di Domenico adds. “When he was singing, he had the same accent as Maurice Chevalier.”
Something that could also be seen as very French is the bittersweet, even melancholic mood of many of Aznavour’s songs. But was this typical of the man himself, offstage?
“Not at all,” di Domenico says. “He was someone who was laughing every day, and joking, he had many, many friends.”
“I would say it’s more like a poetic vision of spleen,” Mischa breaks in, “which is not really melancholy. It’s like saudade, for the Brazilians … maybe something a bit sad, but it’s not sad.”
“If you look at the songs, they can seem sad, because they talk about sad love stories,” Mischa goes on. “But if you look closer” — he snaps his fingers — “there’s always a little twist at the end. So, OK, it’s over, but there’s always hope. That’s the difference from other beautiful French singers like [Jacques] Brel.”
As an example, he mentions another of Aznavour’s famous songs, Bon Anniversaire — in English, Happy Anniversary — in which a couple’s plans for a special evening are ruined by a series of farcical mishaps. “It’s like, everything went wrong, but we still love each other. And that’s what makes him him.”
 Aznavour by Charles is screening as part of the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival, running nationally March 10 – April 19. Jake Wilson travelled to France courtesy of the Alliance Francaise.

Sports: FIFA: Armenia position unchanged in world ranking, Armenia
Feb 20 2020

The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) has issued its new World Ranking.  

Accordingly, the Armenian national squad are still 102nd in the FIFA standings. The team has not played any games since the previous ranking, and their once 30th ranking was a record-breaking high for the country. 

Belgium, France, Brazil, England, Uruguay, Croatia, Portugal, Spain, Argentina, and Colombia are in the top ten, in that order.

Sports: Government of Armenia releases 50 million drams for awarding best ten athletes of the country in 2019

ARKA, Armenia
Feb 20 2020

YEREVAN, February 20. /ARKA/. The government of Armenia has approved today the release of 50 million drams for awarding  the best ten athletes of the country in 2019.

Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Araik Harutyunyan said each of them will receive 5 million drams.

The top ten athletes in 2019 were Arthur Avetisyan (gymnastics), Hovhannes Bachkov (boxing), Arthur Aleksanyan (Greco-Roman wrestling), Slavik Galstyan (Greco-Roman wrestling), Ruben Aleksanyan (weightlifting), Tigran Kirakosyan (sambo) ), Arsen Harutyunyan (freestyle wrestling), Hakob Mkrtchyan (weightlifting), Gor Minasyan (weightlifting) and  Simon Martirosyan (weightlifting).

The minister said that the award ceremony will be held on February 21 at the residence of the president. In his turn, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that sport is of strategic importance.

“I want to draw your attention to the fact that our development strategy until 2050 states that before that  time Armenian athletes should win Olympic medals, win the world chess championship, and become a prize winner of the World Football Cup and the European Championship,” he  said.($1 – 478.63 dram) .– 0–

15:57 20.02.2020

Sports: Armenian judokas to compete in 3 qualification events

MediaMax, Armenia
Feb 20 2020
Armenian judokas to compete in 3 qualification events
Armenia judo team has returned from the 14-day training camp in Kazakhstan.
Most of the judoka lack experiences, so as many matches as possible were organized for them. Head coach of the team Hovhannes Davtyan has told the National Olympic Committee of Armenia that the training camp improved the team significantly.
The team will resume training on March 13 in Tsaghkadzor, where the judoka will focus on fitness. They are to participate in 3 qualification events in Yekaterinburg, Tbilisi and Antalya. There will be joint training with Georgian and Russian teams in that period.
The European Championship in Prague, scheduled for May 1-3, is a qualification event as well.