2020 August 12

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Aug/12/2020 news: / 2016 Yerevan hostage crisis trial. Sasna Tsrer / Beirut aid. Repatriates / COVID restrictions relaxed. Foreign travel. Free care. Parties / HayPost & fiber-optic for borders / UCOM subscribers held a vote / Earthquake / This is Sparta / Amulsar gold miner Lydian / Your boy IRS /
by ar_david_hh


2016 Yerevan hostage crisis / Sasna Tsrer trial / Prosecutors want the following...

Anti-Serj nationalist Sasna Tsrer group, consisted of war veterans, took a Yerevan police station hostage and demanded Serj's resignation in 2016. The attempted revolution failed, and it left three police officers dead during the takeover.

--

Sasna Tsrer group was large. Some of them didn't know why they were being taken to the police station that day. Some of them were released from jail pre-trial, while others, the presumed murderers of those 3 cops, were kept in jail.

After years of trials, evidence examination, and witness testimonies, it appears the trial is approaching the end.

--

Prosecutors want the following:

Smbat Barseghyan (allegedly killed 2 cops): life in prison

Armen Bilyan (allegedly killed 1 cop): 21 years

Pavel Manukyan (famous Artsakh fighter with majestic mustache): 9 years for participation

Varujan Avetisyan (the bold guy you see on every TV interview): 8.75 years for participation.

And several less famous members between 8-9 years.

--

Prosecutor said: the most detailed investigation was around the deceased police officers and their actions. The defense is lying about authorities intentionally killing the officers to frame the group.

--

Suspect Varujan Avetisyan: Moscow continues to rule over Armenia. The 2018 revolution was a lie. They used Nikol to deceive Armenians. There was a slight improvement but it's an imitation. Our struggle for national freedom continues.

--

(Sasna Tsrer would later turn into a political party and get ~1% in 2018 Parliamentary elections. Its leader is Jirayr Sefilian, who was in jail at the time of hostage takeover. The group demanded Sefilian's release in addition to Serj's resignation.)

https://youtu.be/mcPw6IruRls , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024803.html , https://factor.am/275940.html , https://factor.am/276007.html

Corruption bust

The report says: A Yerevan construction firm cooked the books to evade $16K in taxes by falsifying records about 48 employees. They admitted guilt and recovered the funds.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024819.html

Beirut explosion / Aid / Lebanese-Armenians

One of the Armenian humanitarian jets brought with it 56 Lebanese-Armenians who decided to settle in Armenia after becoming homeless. The next flight will bring 45 more repatriates.

Pashinyan: we're currently evaluating their needs.

--

Artsakh govt organized a fundraiser. There are a bank account and an SMS donation number.

"Armenia Fund" has collected $195K donations.

https://youtu.be/x0-75toed6Y

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024721.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024733.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024791.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024832.html

=update: UCOM will donate to soldiers

A few weeks ago UCOM ISP dropped the ball and many users intermittently lost the internet for 1-3 days. UCOM created a $220K compensation package, but since the timing coincided with Tavush Battles, they asked their subscribers if they should donate the package to soldiers instead of every subscriber receiving~$4.

--

UCOM subscribers held a vote (75%-25%) through SMS and asked them to donate it to soldiers.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024751.html

4.4M Earthquake near Turkey-Iran border...

....was also felt in Yerevan and elsewhere with 3-4M strength. Another one happened in Georgia but wasn't as strong.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024728.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024723.html

COVID stats / It's declining / Restrictions to relax

It's declining

+1,710 tested (179,032) . +201 infected. +335 healed. +3 deaths.

--

Healthcare Minister Torosyan: the trend has been downward for several weeks now. It's unlikely to reach 0/day soon but we should aim for 50/day. Hospitals are no longer overloaded.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024736.html

--

Pashinyan: people complain about receiving tickets for not wearing a mask. There is a way to avoid the ticket. It's simple, we kill the Batman just wear a mask. Wear a mask to save a life. Now we have to be twice as vigilant.

Cops weren't tough enough on enforcement during April-May. We have our share of the blame, but people also have responsibilities.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024752.html , https://youtu.be/C7Lp7VvlaMA , https://factor.am/275863.html

--

Restrictions will relax for protests, travel, family parties, etc.

1) Foreigners will be allowed to visit Armenia. They still have to quarantine for 14 days, but they can take a [negative] test upon arrival and exit the quarantine prematurely.

2) Large protests will be allowed as long as people wear masks, keep a 1.5m distance, and get a permit.

3) Family parties and entertainment events are allowed as long as <40 people and everyone wears a mask [and presumably keeps a distance]. Musicians will be allowed.

4) Fewer restrictions on border trade.

5) Masks won't be required inside a personal car. Still required in taxis and public transport.

6) More people will be allowed to sit around a restaurant table.

7) No changes in the military. Visits will remain restricted to keep the barracks healthy.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024750.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024769.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024773.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024773.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024795.html

Emergency Situation / Extend or not?

Emergency Coordinator Avinyan: // Hopefully, this is the last extension. The severity is medium leaning towards light. You may still have difficulties traveling abroad due to other countries' policies. Try to spend your vacation in Armenia. \\

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Opposition BHK and LHK parties are (and have been) against extending the Emergency. They complained about the decision to extend it until September 11th.

--

LHK said: lift the Emergency so Armenians can travel abroad and for foreigners to be able to more freely visit Armenia. Wearing masks outdoors is pointless. We drafted a bill to cancel the Emergency order extension. BHK has joined us.

QP responded: if we lift the Emergency now, we'll have 500 daily cases 2 weeks from now.

--

After 4 hours of deliberations, Parliament voted 22-68 to reject LHK's bill. The Emergency will continue. Artsakh govt has also extended the emergency.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024768.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024801.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024807.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024811.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024830.html , https://factor.am/276040.html

Foreigners will also get free COVID treatment

Emergency Taskforce announced that if a foreigner arrives and gets tested positive during the quarantine, their medical bills will be paid by the govt.

https://factor.am/275955.html

COVID in neighboring Georgia

So far they are keeping the virus at bay, but sadly it's starting to resemble Armenia when the latter was in the initial stages.

Georgian CDC warned about an outbreak in one settlement and warned that if it happens in multiple locations simultaneously, they won't be able to contain it.

Daily confirmed cases have been rising lately.

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/30779676.html

COVID vaccine

Trump administration will pay Nubar Afeyan's MODERNA company $1.53B to purchase 100mln vaccines, followed by 400mln more. Armenia is currently negotiating with vaccine makers to get its hands on the first batch.

--

Russian govt announced that their scientists have created a vaccine that is already being used. Experts are skeptical about its safety and efficiency and accused Russia of rushing the process without sufficient testing.

https://factor.am/275921.html , https://abcnews.go.com/US/fauci-doubts-russias-covid-19-vaccine-safe-effective/story?id=72309297

This is Sparta, not Yerevan

A woman threatened to throw her baby off the balcony after Yerevan municipality sent a construction crew to demolish her illegal balcony.

Emergency Ministry sent a team of psychologists and it was de-escalated. The bootleg balcony was removed from the building, which is considered a historical-architectural monument.

Video: https://youtu.be/-R63PN49DHQ

https://www.facebook.com/1405208089/videos/10219633297248727/ , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024779.html Amulsar gold miner Lydian

Lydian miner said: we've invested $400M [number disputed by environmentalists] and will invest $150M more. We could have created 1,000 direct and 5,000 indirect jobs had the activists not shut it down.

The state budget would receive $100M/year from our taxes.

500 locals left Armenia to find work elsewhere. [Video shows unhappy locals whose family members had to sell houses and move to Russia for work.]

--

Deputy PM Avinyan: our stance on Amulsar mining remains the same. No promises to either side. This is a complicated problem with multiple layers.

LHK MP: you gave promises to environmental activists in 2018. You paid $400K for a company to come and audit the mine. You're silent while Lydian security guards clash with activists during protests.

Deputy PM Avinyan: people can hold protests and raise their voice, especially since the ban on protests is being lifted.

LHK MP: the govt should send a representative to the scene to monitor the situation and answer questions.

--

Meanwhile, Lydian miner is having financial issues with its banks.

--

https://youtu.be/tz7-KZyFxtU , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024790.html , https://youtu.be/0ORYuKaS_oo , https://factor.am/276000.html , https://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/08/12/Major-bank-investment-in-disputed-Armenian-gold-mine-to-end/392494

IRS to answer questions over the internet

Let's congratulate our little brother IRS, everybody, today is his birthday. He finally enters the 20th century with a Q&A section on their website that answers commonly asked questions so you won't have to visit an office.

The website will also help businesses with more in-depth informational booklets.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024787.html

HayPost expands near the borders / Fiber-optic cables

Armenia's post office has a plan to make bordering villages great again by opening new facilities. The settlements commonly bombed by Azerbaijan were prioritized.

Tavush's Barekamavan has a new type of mini-post office that will also provide financial and banking services.

During the construction, they wired a fiber-optic internet to the facility. It'll be used by the community for education and other purposes. It's unclear if individual houses will have it.

Photo: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024804.html

Bolola app

Soundboard app for bolola and other phrases. (I haven't used it)

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bolola-armenian-statements/id1523054038

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.armenia.famousstatements

--

You've read 1438 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/i8kbvj/aug122020_news_2016_yerevan_hostage_crisis_trial/

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. Helpful overview of Armenia's media ownership and leanings.


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