2019 July 31
Anti-Corruption & News - Jul/31/2019:: ANCA on US military & other aid :: Nuclear safety :: Revenues up 25%; Where did the money go? ::: EU-ARM deal progress :: 3 mayors busted; the tale of Robin Hood ::: Yerevan ::: Prison staff busted ::: Borders shots :: Neighborhood ::: Other stories inside
Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law, even if they may sound as being guilty. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
International scientists examined Metsamor Nuclear Plant for a week and gave it a 3.82 safety rating out of 4. "The mission stated that Armenia has strengthened its regulatory infrastructure in the face of current challenges."
18 out of 28 EU states have adopted the EU-AM comprehensive cooperation deal. FM Mnatsakanyan says there are no political barriers for the rest, it's just technicality.
An Armenian sniper shot and wounded an Azeri soldier in north-eastern Tavush region of Armenia, says the Azeri military. That's where an Azeri sniper recently killed an Armenian soldier. Both sides are reinforcing their trenches with engineering, which has caused the recent escalation in the area. Azeris are purposely torching lands in the no man's land to open up a view for their snipers. Armenian army combat deaths went down by 5x in 1H19 vs 1H18.
ANCA gave a press conference. They said US has given Armenia $2bln since the independence, and $45mln to Artsakh. Artsakh is the only unrecognized nation to receive such funding.
Journalist asked why US cut military aid to Armenia and will pay $100mln to Azerbaijan. ANCA said "there is fake news". It's not $100mln, it's not a weapon aid, and the money isn't given to Azerbaijan, but will be spent by US on border projects with Iran. 2019's military aid reduction for Armenia is part of Trump's wider policy of reducing foreign military aid in general. Azerbaijan happens to be a more convenient place to counter Iran, so they get the projects, said the committee. [This is backed up by the stats which show foreign military aid was cut for many nations in 2019].
US has decided to give $45mln non-military aid to Armenia, and ANCA hopes to get another $40mln for Armenia and $5mln for Artsakh in 2020.
California's deputy governor Eleni Kounalakis was present at the conference. She said California wants to improve ties with Armenia. She expressed interest to create a direct flight between Los Angeles and Yerevan. They're negotiating with airline companies. [yuge if true, bye bye Qatar and Moscow]
Colorado state Senator Danea E. was present too. She wants to increase high-tech and agriculture economic cooperation between Colorado and Armenia. She wants a TUMO education center in Colorado. She is excited about the internal progress made in Armenia after the 2018 "bloodless revolution" and said it has "brought a change to the whole world".
ANCA is working on a resolution that could sanction Azerbaijan for their threats to shoot down civilian jets over Stepanakert, Artsakh airport.
An amateur drone flew at a 1km height close to Boeing 737 while it was trying to land https://factor.am/171647.html
Massive fires across Russia have burned down forests size of Armenia. The lost forests so far this year are 4x larger than Armenia. Leonardo DiCaprio hit the panic button after local Russian population asked him to help raise awareness.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/983392.html -- https://www.oreanda.ru/en/v_mire/leonardo-dicaprio-drew-attention-to-the-wildfires-in-siberia/article1274281/ -- https://www.cbsnews.com/news/siberia-wildfires-russia-potential-disaster-climate-change-both-feed-off-and-contribute-to-warming-greenpeace/
Army vowed to find and punish those who were recently seen transporting un-refregirated meat out in the open in the trunk of a truck on a direct sunlight. Spokesman says this will be fixed as part of the ongoing food delivery reforms.
Nature ministry is negotiating with lamp importers to make sure lamps don't contain mercury. The law mandates that certain products that contain the poison be removed from the market beginning 2020.
ARF organized a protest in which they claimed the elevator budget was reduced by 71mln. Yerevan municipality says it's misleading, and they increased apartment complex elevator budget by 34mln and are working on a longer term solution.
Thousands of elevators in apartment buildings need to be repaired. Elevators belong to tenants. City has plans to collect extra few hundred AMD/month from tenants to be able to repair their elevators. Plans were made with a Chinese firm to start an elevator production in Armenia that could be used in Armenia.
Yerevan municipality will implement electronic patient appointment registration system for 3 clinics that are under its possession. It should reduce wait times and save resources.
Police says they caught Gogaran mayor with falsifying 2015-2017 documents to receive more state funds dedicated for low income residents in his settlement. In a true Robin Hood fashion, instead of embezzling the money, he actually gave the stolen money to the poor.
He then gave social security money to 14 unqualified residents so they could use the money to pay off a land debt to the municipality.
Every story needs a villain. Police says Hartagyugh mayor, between 2014-2019, took 7.5mln from the budget by falsifying records as if the money was paid to two workers, who never actually went to work. He then falsified municipality council member signatures to embezzle 1mln.
Robin Hood is facing 2 charges, second mayor 5 charges.
Police: Shamlugh mayor registered his family members as workers between 2007-2017 who didn't go to work but received 15.2mln cash. He's facing multiple felony charges and is told to stay in the country. The money is recovered.
Hetq released a lengthy study on who owns property at a prestigious areas in a park (hint: mostly HHK and BHK MPs and friends). Ովքեր են «տիրացել» Օղակաձև զբոսայգուն:
NSS has busted Armavir penitentiary employee with taking 0.3mln bribe to allow an inmate to use a cell phone and roam around freely in 2019. In a second instance he took construction materials as a bribe. Several other workers in other facilities are facing charges for deliberately allowing phones and narcotics to go undetected.
Vayots Dzor's local prosecutors had twice as many corruption and abuse of power cases against various officials in 1H19 vs 1H18. Details inside.
The lawsuit involving the former HHK MP and Nature Minister Harutyunyan, whom the businesswoman Silva Hambardzumyan admitted to bribing millions of Dollars to receive mining licenses, continues. The businesswoman says several defendants are on the run which complicates the process. She says if the asset forfeiture laws are implemented soon, it could help to expedite the process.
She said even thought Robert Kocharyan earlier threatened to sue her for an alleged defamation (she said she paid millions to Rob through his staff to avoid business problems), she hasn't received any information about such lawsuit against her. She denied defamation accusations.
She said the former politicians are paying people, some of them homeless, to come and protest against the new government. (yesterday a few hundred Rob supporters gathered on front of the government building with "Rob is a Hero" placards)
PM Pashinyan took a swipe at "fake news" claiming he used a helicopter to visit a friend's birthday party, noting that the timeline and location of the alleged flight wouldn't be practical. He criticized media outlets for spreading the rumors without trying to verify the info.
Pashinyan blamed roboserj outlets (he actually used the term, Pashinyan an /r/Armenia lurker confirmed?) for the rumors and said they're continuing to do what they've been doing for decades, and that they have a lot of money for it. More inside...
http://panarmenian.net/m/arm/news/271588 - - - https://www.lragir.am/2019/07/31/464056/ -- Unrelated https://fip.am/7688 -- https://fip.am/7713 -- https://fip.am/7718 -- https://fip.am/7731 -- https://fip.am/7753
Pashinyan is still on vacation. A nearby villager took him to gardens and convinced him to eat some stuff off the trees. Pashinyan ended up advertising the man's bee farm and gave the guy's phone number so people can buy honey. (bribed?)
State revenues rose 25% in 1H19 vs 1H18. That's an extra 152bln Drams. The new money is being used for:
- Raising soldier salaries by avg 10% starting June.
- Raising 38,000 teacher salaries by 10% starting September.
- Raising pensions by 10% starting 2020.
- Additional 7.4bln to repair 303km roads https://youtu.be/1X3A7ULVeR0?t=4
- Additional 10bln for provincial regions to complete some projects.
- 3bln to build homes for the remaining 1988 earthquake survivors who still live in trailers.
Ministry of Finances has proposed mortgage reforms to allow the borrowers to take a one-time 6 month "vacation" and not pay the dues, if they are facing hardship (become unemployed, disabled, income reduced by >30%, etc). Upon resumption of payments, the mortgage contract terms must remain the same and the borrower will have the deadline extended by however long the vacation lasted.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ckd61f/anticorruption_news_jul312019_anca_on_us_military/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|