2019 July 4

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption & News - Juul/4/2019: Free healthcare for <18yo and soldier parents begins.... HHK is being sued.... Government session; repairs; billions.... Sevan Lake.... Wage increase: Parliament vs Gov... Constitutional Court.... Gay.... Foreign affairs... mandr-mundr other news
by ar_david_hh

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.


March 1st murder victims' representatives sent a request to the Constitutional Court and demanded 7 member judges to recuse themselves from hearing the Kocharyan case this August, citing the reasons as political past, lack of trust, and a conflict of interest.

Petition says the judges were involved with making pro-Kocharyan and pro-Serj election result verdicts in 2008, at the time when it is known that Kocharyan regime was directly pressuring the courts, as exposed by US embassy cables.

Other reasons were also mentioned, for example some judges holding extraordinary sessions to approve Kocharyan's now-disputed state of emergency declaration; a judge still being a party member at the time of being elected; judges being elected by a president who came into power controversially after pressing the court; the chief judge being an active HHK member and MP at the time of appointed, who aided the party agenda.

Read the rest of the complaint here...

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165446

HHK party is being sued by the family of a businessman who used to own the building where one of HHK's headquarter is (or was) located. The businessman was a wine maker in the 20th century and owned the building. The family alleges that in 2001, HHK used it political powers to rapidly force the 460 sq/m building to be sold to HHK for only 5.5mln Drams. Next year, the state paid HHK 93mln to obtain the same area, which later presumably came under HHK's possession again. The plaintiff alleges that property registration agency was in such a hurry that they didn't wait for ownership names to be properly changed before authorizing the transactions, thus making the process illegal. The court will hear the case this September.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/165369

The government session took place.

375mln of the excess tax money will be spent on rebuilding 5 high schools. Hundreds of millions to renovate dozens of others. 1.7bln was dedicated to repair universities. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165433 -- https://factor.am/165207.html

837mln will be dedicated to create 330 robotics labs in schools, in addition to 350 that already exist. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165417

The plan to double the premium pensions for 397 WW2 vets has been approved. They'll receive 100k/month. It'll probably be sent to Parliament for a final approval. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165407

4bln will be issued to State Water Committee to solve local water debt and management issues. Minister of Infrastructure complained that a poor management for many years has led to a 7bln debt. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165415

The government approved a draft version of a QP bill that regulates contractor work terms to prevent certain types of "unfair and arbitrary terminations". Details inside... https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165411

The government approved the agreement to remove double taxation with Singapore, and to prevent tax avoidance 🇸🇬

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/980749.html

The hospital healthcare becomes free for anyone below 18, beginning today. Parents of soldiers will also qualify for this free care. Some treatments with expensive equipment will become free for disabled people. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/165479

Sevan lake is greener than usual. Last time it was this green in 1960s and in 2018. Smaller level greentifications have happened frequently for many years. Why does the lake become green?

It's due to flora and other organic processes, which can place the quality of the lake in danger if nothing is done. When the water level rises but the trees near the shore aren't cut beforehand, it cases problems when the trees become submerged. When large quantities of water is drained for irrigation, it causes more problems because it disturbs the organic process that the lake does to clean itself. Add to this the fact that phosphorus, sewage and other materials are added to lake, it results in the lake changing its color.

Minister of Nature Protection said the current greenification is caused by a combination of algae (jrimur) growth, phosphorus-nitrogen and other chemical buildup, dirty water flowing into the lake, submerged trees near the shores, record high temperatures.

The government begun an examination to find and treat the causes. They have already identified the areas that need to be cleared of submerged trees. The cleanup can last 2-3 years, and the lake's water levels will be brought to 1901.5 meters afterwards. To identify the areas that need to be cleaned, the ministry used satellite and drones. 770 hectares of problematic areas were identified. In the past years, 70 hectares were cleaned each year. They will increase that number to 300 hectares for 2020 and 2021.

This season's water drainage is already low compared to past years, which should help. Minister says they're working with the law enforcement and Agricultural ministry to reduce irrigation abuse.

German institutes are involved with identifying certain pollution sources. The Ministry sent a petition to UNESCO to add Sevan to Bioshpere Reserve program, which will allow better cleanup management and socioeconomic improvements for residents living near the lake. Belarus has offered help with the cleanup.

Ministry is working with PM's office to create a plan to clean up 30 rivers that pour into the lake. After the cleanup, the lake's water levels will be raised because more fresh water automatically translates into better quality in some regards.

Within the next 2 weeks, the large deposits of phosphorus will erode away, and the green color, which is "still safe", should be significantly reduced, said the Minister. This greenifcation is also happening in the Black Sea and Baikal Lake due to climate change and temperature rise.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/105250 --- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cDwuFXB2Mc --- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165424 --- TLDR https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORD7jJClIRk

Pashinyan's government earlier approved raising minimum wage from 55k to at least 63k. However, they want it raised even higher, to 68k.

QP party in Parliament doesn't fully agree with the government. Says extending it to 68k will have "side effects". The co-author of the bill QP MP Babken Tunyan says 63k number was initially chosen because it's the minimum necessary to "survive", aka the food basket number. "It makes sense for the minimum wage to equal to it".

Setting minimum wage above that number will cause government official salaries to also go up, because these salaries are calculated by multiplying the base salary by a number. MP doesn't want this to happen.

The MP is in favor of raising it to 68k only if the government agrees to make changes on how official salaries are calculated so they'll continue to earn the old salaries, and if the government submits a report on how much extra burden the extended raise will be on the budget.

The MP says 80,000 workers who earn exactly the current minimum wage will see their wages raised, plus many more workers will see their close-to-minimum wage raised to the new minimum wage. The number of "affected" workers is significantly higher than the 80,000 that was initially reported.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/980746.html

.........................................

Ministry of Labor says the 68k is the better number. They examined 1580 businesses and found that the raise wouldn't be a big burden on them. The businesses said they could go up to 70k. The minimum wage should be above the survival food basket, said the deputy Minister.

To survive you need: 63k

Parliament: minimum wage should be 63k

Government: minimum wage should be 68k

Business: anything below 70k won't hurt us (per government study)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/980734.html --- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOjSGdKjeLk

29 PACE representatives urged the Armenian government to do more to protect LGBTI (a random new letter attached to LGBT every day?), calling the current actions as insufficient and failed. They cite death threats towards an LGBTI forum in Armenia as an example.

The report criticizes that there are no new laws to protect LGBTI, and the existing ones don't respect the gender identity and gender choice. They urged the government to publicly denounce hate speech against LGBTI, and to better train public officials and judges to respect the LGBTI.

Today's comment section will have 50 comments, and 49 will be about this topic.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165445

California will dedicate $5mln to build a Armenian-US museum in Glendale. It'll be about the history of Armenia, diaspora, culture cooperaation, etc.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/ocasio-cortez-accused-of-stunt-with-claims-at-the-border-acquitted-navy-seal-to-speak-to-fox-news

Artsakh and Armenia Human Rights Ombudsmen met Los Angeles municipality officials and legislators, thanked them for the continuous support, discussed new plans. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165448

World Customs Organization re-elects Armenian Customs Service as member of its audit committee. 182 countries, 12 of which are audit members; Armenia and Netherlands represent Europe. It's about the classification of goods, customs valuation, border cooperation etc.

http://arka.am/en/news/business/world_customs_organization_re_elects_armenian_customs_service_as_member_of_its_audit_committee/

Everyone: installs a trampoline for a pool

Armenian nibbas: moves the pool under an ancient historical bridge to use it as a trampoline

Smart nibbas: just stop, get some help

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/980785.html

Fireworks explosion in Belarus leaves several injured and one dead. SFW https://youtu.be/OhuyA2BBZDc?t=4 --https://youtu.be/C4MF2XI_raw?t=84

Singer Hayko has a message for the haters https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZocs8XQUe4


Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/c970i0/anticorruption_news_juul42019_free_healthcare_for/

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