2020 August 13

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Aug/13/2020 news: / Two more COVID aid packages / Polls! / Illegal Sevan buildings / Mafia gang arrested / Anti-corruption / Army death transparency / Foreign Affairs: food boycott & cancellations in LA, arrests in AZ, Russian weapons / Lebanon & Gaza / Fireworks ban / Recycling & trash factories
by ar_david_hh


Demolishing illegal buildings near Lake Sevan

Last year the government examined Lake Sevan shores and created a database of all buildings that need to be removed before the lake's levels can rise.

Some mansions and businesses are too close to the lake because the former regimes allowed their oligarchs and others to get "sweet spots" illegally.

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Nature Ministry began the removal process today. The first one is a metal structure installed last month on the peninsula.

Sevan water levels are currently at the same mark as last year.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024858.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024872.html

Nature protection inspection results for July 20-24

26 violations were recorded, mostly about damaging vegetation and air, with $10.7k in monetary damages.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024862.html

Army death report transparency

There are NGOs tasked with making sure the information about combat and non-combat deaths in the military are not kept secret.

The NGO concluded that in 1H20, the 17 deaths about soldiers were published by the army's own information center, while info about 14 other deaths was published by prosecutors.

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Deaths related to army service is usually published by the army, while deaths from non-service causes (health issues, etc.) are published by prosecutors.

7 of the non-combat deaths were first reported by a third party and confirmed by prosecutors.

https://factor.am/276217.html

Ex-director of agricultural water union is busted / $1.3m stolen

Investigators say: Between 2003-2011, the director of Masis water union stole $1.3m worth property and forged documents. It's about water pumps, pipes, etc. He's charged with 4 felony counts.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024899.html

Criminal subculture "thieve-in-law" arrested / Ring busted

Recently the Parliament passed a bill to criminalize the Soviet-inherited "vor v zakone" (thieve-in-law) criminal subculture, and participation in such mafia gangs. Thieve-in-law is the highest rank in the mafia.

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The authorities have arrested one such thieve-in-law, another "zone nayogh" (a person who oversees prison activities), and one "criminal authority" (person who usually settles street disputes).

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The report says: a citizen asked a thieve-in-law to help recover his money from someone who is currently in prison. The thieve-in-law instructed his "criminal authority" to handle it, so the latter asked the "zone nayogh", who is in prison, to extort the funds from the fellow inmate.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024894.html

Tags: #ThieveInLaw #VorVzakone

Inmates are learning to cook

The Justice Ministry worked with NGOs to launch a new project to teach Nubarashen and Armavir inmates to cook. 25 have enrolled. After an evaluation process, they'll find a job during and after their sentence.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024897.html

Relocated residents want a "fair" compensation

Context: There is a law that allows the govt to declare certain lands as of "significant public importance" and require its residents to leave. Residents must be given a fair compensation.

That is how Kocharyan built the Northern Avenue pedestrian boulevard. Its relocated residents complained about not receiving fair compensation. ECHR ruled in their favor.

Pashinyan administration [[2019 October 7|invited these ex-residents to express their complaints about Kocharyan and Serj administrations' decisions].

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Today the residents of another building held a protest in front of govt building. They were relocated 16 years ago, "without being fairly compensated".

They complain about their case being delayed too long by the municipality now. "There is a construction company willing to build a high-rise but the city only allows a 5-story complex. As a result, we're still homeless. They give us a runaround."

https://factor.am/276155.html , https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/denngm/anticorruption_news_summary_oct72019_parliament/

COVID stats / Fewer safety violations

+1,465 tested (180,497). +229 infected. +405 healed. +3 deaths. 6,079 active.

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Emergency coordinator Avinyan: inspectors used to find safety violations in 20% of businesses in June. Today it's 4%.

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Artsakh has removed the ban on foreign travelers but continues to require a negative COVID test before entry. The test must be done no earlier than 3 days before the visit.

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Healthcare Ministry has no plans to purchase the Russian vaccines, yet. They're gathering more info.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024855.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024882.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024885.html , http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284016/

COVID aid packages... how much?

So far the govt has passed 22 aid packages worth $301m for people and businesses.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024881.html

23th COVID aid package / Tourism

What: Today the govt authorized the 23rd package. This one will help the tourism industry which sustained a 70% reduction in turnover.

How much: The govt will pay the salary of every 3rd or 4th employee.

Qualifies: companies with >3 employees created before March 31st.

Disqualifies: if the company was caught evading taxes by not printing sales receipts (severe instances), or the company laid off 50% of employees in 2019 despite receiving >50mln in tax refunds.

Taxpayer cost: 3.3b ($6.9m) this year, and $5.6m next year.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024861.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024864.html

Why no aid for businesses that evaded sales taxes?

Context for new readers: Tax evasion by the sales industry has been Pashinyan's pet peeve. After 2018, his administration began enforcing taxation strictly. Sales receipts grew double-digits and billions poured into the budget.

Pashinyan: not printing a sales receipt is the same as stealing bread from a soldier. Don't hold a grudge on us when we enforce it.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024874.html

24th COVID aid package / Wine industry

What: wine and cognac demand fell by 30% due to export and internal consumption decline.

How much: fully subsidized loans <$6.2m. Two years to payback. No payment necessary for the first 3-6 months. The businesses' older loan deadlines will be extended.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024884.html

LA Armenians cancel an Azeri conference

Los Angeles [County] top-cop Alex Villanueva authorized an Azeri conference about "discussing Azeri community concerns". The local Armenians put pressure to cancel this "anti-Armenian initiative".

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Ex-mayor and current city councilman of Montebello Jack Hajinyan (Jack Hadjinian) complained about top-cop Villanueva allowing Azeri protesters to attack Armenians a few weeks ago, and quit his position at a police-led youth initiative as a sign of protest.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024850.html

Armenia cemetery vandalized in Turkey

The Armenian cemetery owned by Holy Savior church in Ankara was vandalized. The bones were removed and scattered around.

DEVA party leadership asked the mayor to investigate the "shameful" incident. The mayor said they're working on it.

https://factor.am/276231.html

Azeri authorities lure and arrest their ambassador to Serbia

Azeri ambassador to Serbia has been arrested. Two things are happening in neighboring Azerbaijan:

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One, Aliyev has been cleaning up the Foreign Ministry. He arrested several officials and fired the MFA because they are Old Guard loyalists. Serbian ambassador Eldar Hasanov is also a Foreign Ministry official.

Two, Aliyev invited Serbian diplomats to complain about their weapon sales to Armenia. Eldar Hasanov visited Azerbaijan along with Serbian envoy, and was quickly detained on "corruption charges".

https://www.turan.az/ext/news/2020/8/free/politics%20news/en/126638.htm , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024915.html

400 tons of weapons

Aliyev spoke with Putin, during which they discussed the Tavush Battles. He complained that Russia delivered 400 tons of weapons to Armenia after the battles, through the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran corridor.

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/30781612.html

Food boycott reaches Los Angeles

Weeks after Azeri-owned food markets removed Armenian products from store shelves in Moscow, and the Turkish govt's support for Aliyev's aggression in Tavush, Armenians in Los Angeles launched a similar initiative to boycott Turkish products.

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"Make Burbank a Turkish Product Free Zone" movement has convinced two markets to join the boycott, citing "Turkey's terrible human rights record".

http://asbarez.com/196155/anca-burbank-commends-local-businesses-for-removing-turkish-products/

Polish article and video about Artsakh

Witold Repetowicz: "Górski Karabach: zbliżenie Rosji i Turcji nas niepokoi!"

https://youtu.be/eQ_9c2Y53sQ

https://www.defence24.pl/gorski-karabach-zblizenie-rosji-i-turcji-nas-niepokoi-korespondencja-ze-strefy-walk

Beirut explosion

Lebanese prosecutors will interrogate several Ministers (Justice, Finances, Labor, etc.) from old and new governments.

171 died and 6,000 were injured from the August 4th blast, which also caused $15b in damages. Around one-tenth of deaths are Armenians because the port was located near the Armenian district.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024847.html , http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/283984/

Kegham Jeghalyan... The Gaza photographer

German Deutsche Welle outlet has a documentary: Kegham was one of Gaza's first and most famous photographers. His archive is from 1945-1970.

Some of his photos include Che Guevara's 1959 visit to Gaza, the now-dismantled station connecting Egypt to Gaza, etc.

Marwan Tarazi was able to save the archive. "It wasn't easy to save them. This is our heritage. That's why it's so important for us."

Full 42-minute documentary by DW: https://youtu.be/wlqckvL8MSA

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024900.html

Poll: Revolution outcome, free healthcare, education

Did the outcome of the revolution meet your expectations?

14% fully yes, 59% partially yes, 20% slightly yes

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Make Armenian language/history optional in universities?

2/3rd said partially or fully no.

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Pay 6% higher taxes to get a free Universal Healthcare?

50% yes

https://youtu.be/DKFB-8p0-Ls

Techie receives a medal for busting trafficking

Ոմն N. Harutyunyan, an employee of UCOM ISP, received a medal from investigators. It's the first time an ISP employee is being awarded this.

He helped to bust high-profile human trafficking, child exploitation, and narco-traffic cases.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024869.html

THIS is why we can't have nice things

The govt is drafting a bill to severely limit the import and sales of fireworks. Lately, some gyamshs have been blowing up the skies and causing fires at night. The holidays will be exceptions.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284026/

This is why we CAN have nice things

Beeline ISP brings 100Mb/s internet to Shengavit and Norq-Marash districts of Yerevan. It's 20x faster than before and allows digital TV.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284021/

One small step for man, one giant leap for disabled children

Vardenis city's Hambardzumyan Park will have a playground designed to accommodate kids with various disabilities. The construction has begun. It's co-subsidized by the govt, UN, Armenia Fund, and ACBA Bank.

This is Armenia's second such playground designed for kids with needs. Its construction is the continuation of the park's renovation that began last year.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024870.html

Recycling and trash in Armenia / New factory

Armenia signed a deal with the European bank to build a new recycling plant and an eco-friendly trash facility.

The auction has been delayed due to COVID. The construction will begin in 2021, and by 2026, Armenia will have a new recycling center and a dumping site with European standards.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284022/

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You've read 1617 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/i95t40/aug132020_news_two_more_covid_aid_packages_polls/

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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