2020 August 17

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Aug/17/2020 news: / Armenia's fish industry & water reserves / Eco-tourism in Sevan... need roads / Anti-corruption stats: 2020 vs 2019 vs ... / Yerevan begins recycling / Belorussian activists use "Armenian model" / Domestic violence 2020 vs 2019 / Rector's doctoral degree / Neolithic discoveries /
by ar_david_hh


In case you missed Sunday news

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/iazzpg/aug162020_news_how_kocharyan_serj_sold_armenias/

Armenia's fish industry & freshwater reserves

By 2013, Armenia's fish breeding industry was using a water well above the allowance, legally and illegally. This resulted in Ararat valley's Artesian freshwater levels dropping by 15 meters.

"Former Nature Minister gave 211 illegal licenses," said the general prosecutor. (this is the same Minister who is charged with allegedly helping Robert Kocharyan with a multi-million dollar mining license bribery)

Since 2017, fish exports rose 3x, and caviar exports by 5x.

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In 2019 the govt began tightly regulating water usage. Some wells were throttled or closed. "We waste $1b worth water to produce $200m worth fish annually," complained Pashinyan at the time.

The number of fish businesses went from 180 to 169. Most of the freshwater usage permits granted since 2018 have been about renewing existing licenses.

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Several fish businesses were issued $600 citations. Some of them allegedly belong to Artsakh president Arayik, former official OEK Arthur Baghdasaryan, BHK chief Gagik Tsarukyan, ex-Premier HHK Hovik Abrahamyan, etc.

"Our readings and the data coming from businesses indicate a slight but visible increase in underground water levels," said an expert, "we also give citations for not filtering out wastewater and dumping it in nearby rivers."

--

In 2019, Bigama Fruit company launched a pilot program to experiment a new type of fish breeding facility. It uses less water and produces more fish.

"The same 20 liters/second water usage now gives us 45 tons of fish instead of 9," said the CEO.

https://factor.am/276600.html

Tags: #Artezian #FishIndustry #AraratWater #FishBreeding

Pashinyan's Gegharquniq trip / Road repairs / Meetings / Lake Sevan tourism

PM traveled through the province to see ongoing kindergarten, school, and road repairs. Here are some bits:

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"It's good that water is free, but it's also bad because everything shouldn't be free. People should be accustomed to paying for stuff and taxes. Those taxes are re-invested to build infrastructure, after all."

https://youtu.be/R7EcADIol54

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A local woman complained about the mayor and school director allegedly colluding to illegally fire her from school. She attempted suicide. "We heard your version of events. I'll ask someone to investigate," said PM.

https://youtu.be/RsSoteMxKTM

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Cringe alert: A grandma saw Pashinyan walking on the streets and wanted to kiss his feet.

https://youtu.be/K4zhWl6vEnE?t=579

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The province's Tsovasar village will have its first-ever kindergarten.

https://youtu.be/8tmKQaHw9LI

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A fist bump with the churchman from Vanevan monastery 👊: https://youtu.be/EvAYFUZEZdQ?t=16

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Sevan-Shoghakat-Vardenis road is being renovated. It's right alongside Lake Sevan. https://youtu.be/spgIUpHPCp4

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Pashinyan concludes the trip: in 2018 we adopted a strategy that every road around Lake Sevan must be of high quality. It's almost done. Some sections near Tsapatagh and Jil were never asphalted before, but now they will be.

And it isn't just about asphalt. They're getting water drainage networks, street lighting, and new kindergartens for the first time.

All of this is part of our subsidy strategy. The federal and local governments co-funded this $12.5m project across Gegharquniq.

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This is needed to economically develop Sevan's eastern shores. Areguni-Artanish region has a perfect climate and potential for eco-tourism.

Armenia is turning into a huge construction field. I'm once again convinced that our decision to lift the strict COVID lockdown was the right move. It would have harmed these programs.

We need to rebuild Armenia now as if we're preparing for the second coming of Jesus.

--

Why do govt employees receive salary bonuses? They must receive decent compensation. It's my decision. I support bonuses.

The public should be happy that today we have Ministers who need bonuses because they don't embezzle.

https://youtu.be/TG1x984LoC8

NSS busts more corruption at National Metrology Institute

On Apr/27/2020 we learned that Metrology officials allegedly took bribes to ignore illegal activities between 2019-2020. NSS has busted more corruption.

NSS says that between 2010-2018, the officials also hired 27 fake employees and embezzled $116k in salaries.

A new felony case is launched. https://factor.am/276817.html

2017 attack on journalists / Statute of Limitations

In 2017 Sisak Gabrialyan was Azatutyun journalist. In 2019 he became a QP MP.

In 2017, while filming an electoral office and the assault of his colleague, he was allegedly assaulted by the Defendant.

Today the court found that the Defendant's actions were not severe so he was cleared by the statute of limitations.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/120606

The govt's Constitutional Court nominee quits

Earlier the govt, the president, and the Supreme Court each nominated one judicial candidate to fill in the empty spots in Constitutional Court.

Today the govt's candidate Vahram Avetisyan changed his mind after meeting with several QP MPs. They had disagreements around several topics related to judicial independence, the courts' role, de-politicization.

As a result, the candidate doesn't believe he'll get the necessary 80 votes from MPs to be elected.

https://factor.am/276821.html

Belarus: 2008 or 2018? / Activist explains

Context in Aug/16 post.

Belorussian activist Tatiana C.: // what's happening in Belarus now resembles the 2018 events in Armenia. Many Belorussian activists are mimicking the Armenian model of peaceful protests today.

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the leader

It's decentralized and across the country. Unfortunately, there is no clear leader. Tikhanovskaya was forced to flee. She wanted to serve only for 2 years to organize new fair elections.

The crackdown has been brutal. Belarus is more militarized than Ukraine. They've been training for this day for 26 years. Maybe it's better that there is no clear leader; they can't arrest one person and finish it.

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the strikes

Workers from 8 out of 10 largest companies are on strike. They demand an end to brutality and fair elections. There is no clear count on how many are striking, but the squares get filled. The govt forcefully locked some factory doors to keep workers inside.

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the votes

87% of votes went to Tikhanovskaya in polling stations for citizens outside of Belarus. They may not be a great representation of demographics within Belarus, I agree, but we also have polling data from within Belarussian stations showing that Lukashenko completely rigged the numbers.

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who is Lukashenko's main base?

Lukashenko still has strong support among the military and political elites. Factory leaders are also his puppets. We don't see large cracks yet.

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what if Lukashenko leaves?

If he leaves now, Tikhanovskaya could return and organize new snap elections, or there could be a temporary coalition govt that will organize new elections.

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Geoplotics: West vs East?

There is no anti-Russian campaign just as in the case of the Armenian revolution. It's hard to predict the future foreign policy under a new leader.

Belorussian TV calls the protests "Maidan" (keyword for anti-Russian revolution) but that phrase is less common in Russian TV. Only smaller Russian fake news-y blogs describe the protests as Maidan.

--

international media

Before things got hot, international outlets were hesitant to send teams to Belarus due to COVID. Now things are hot and the media wants to visit Belarus, but the govt began denying their accreditation petitions under the pretense of issues caused by COVID. ///

https://youtu.be/6C5lEVfjKlE

Belarus: 2018? / Mass strikes / EU responds / Leader emerges / Lukashenko clings

The alleged election winner Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, while in exile, released footage thanking her supporters and expressed willingness to take the role of a leader to organize new transparent elections.

https://youtu.be/UPATUpqAIDE

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More people joined the strikes across the country. Participants include large employers like Minsk's tractor factory, BelAZ car factory, BelarusKalia, etc.

"We understand that our strike will cause economic problems and people won't receive their wages, but we have no other way to pressure the government," said the strikers.

https://factor.am/276866.html

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Lukashenko used a helicopter to visit one of the factories to give a speech among a carefully chosen small group of loyalists. "There won't be new elections unless you kill me," he said.

He revealed that they're working on Constitutional amendments to "redistribute and balance the power". That's his compromise solution.

https://factor.am/276905.html , https://factor.am/276970.html

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The EU responds: Belorussians have the right to choose their future. Brutality against protesters is unacceptable. We declare Lukashenko "persona non grata" in the EU.

https://factor.am/276953.html , https://factor.am/276989.html

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The Belorussian government has submitted its resignation as mandated by law. A new one will be formed post-elections.

Developing story: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025138.html

Corruption investigations in 1H20 vs 1H19

Total: 1233 (in 2020) vs 1016 (in 2019) vs 551 (in 2018) vs 566 (in 2017)

Embezzlement: 408 vs 335

Abuse of power: 407 vs 215

More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025180.html

http://investigative.am/news/view/korupcion-gwrcer-2019-arajin-kisamyak.html

Domestic violence investigations in 1H20 vs 1H19

Total: 396 (in 2020) vs 331 (in 2019)

Murder: 6 vs 9

Battery assault: 209 vs 184

Death threat: 45 vs 25

More: https://factor.am/277002.html , http://investigative.am/news/view/yntanekan-brnutyunner-vichakagrakan-tvyalner-arajin-kisamyak_2019.html

Education Ministry reinstates rector's doctoral degree

A big drama took place in June. The Education Ministry official Gogyan, tasked with catching plagiarism, accused another Ministry official of sponsoring Economics University rector by ignoring problems in her doctoral dissertation. Gogyan revoked rector Diana Galoyan's doctoral degree for "improper citation".

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Later, the SIS examined and found no evidence of "sponsoring" the rector.

Today the Education Ministry overruled Gogyan's decision and re-instated the rector's doctoral degree. They also found "double standards" when it comes to revoking her degree but leaving another similar one intact.

--

Gogyan denied the accusations of doubles standards and complained about the decision to reinstate the degree. He wants to talk to Pashinyan.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284118/

https://youtu.be/SHdlpbtDD8E

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/h16itw/jun112020_news_1_mining_reforms_2_kocharyan_aides/

$750,000 loan to help post-COVID education

Asian Development Bank will provide $750k to Education Ministry to help with technological and other issues caused by COVID.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284123/

Yerevan architect Meschyan ends his term

Mayor Marutyan had appointed famous singer and architect Arthur Meschyan as chief Yerevan architect in 2018. Meschyan had promised to serve only 2 years, so he resigned today.

https://factor.am/276977.html , http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284132/

Yerevan begins sorting recyclable cardboards / Plastic next

5% of all trash is paper cardboard. The city's Green Department created a new office and began cooperating with 600 large businesses to have them separate their cardboard waste from the rest so the city can dispose of them separately.

Every morning, city trucks visit businesses and collect 2.5 tons of cardboard. The goal is to reduce recyclable materials in garbage landfills.

--

Similarly, a temporarily sorting facility will open in Ajapnyak district to handle plastic. All this waste is given to a private company for a fee.

Video (slight cringe alert): https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=297797234643187

https://factor.am/276892.html

First ever pandemic-certified autopsy center

Healthcare Ministry finished the construction of a new autopsy center in Kotayk. It is Armenia's first center that's certified to handle autopsies of people who died from dangerous viruses.

The center has protective measures such as separate entrances, air conditioning systems, HEPA filters, etc.

https://factor.am/276850.html

3x3 basketball cup

The Armenian NBA will hold the first-ever certified 3x3 FIBA competition in Armenia on August 23rd near Cascade.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025121.html

Next generation grandmasters

Yerevan Chess Federation held an educational competition between 8-14yo kids and coaches to find talents. Kids played against adult grandmasters.

Robert Philiposyan was the winner. Remember that name.

https://factor.am/276805.html

Archaeologists find neolithic items after examining a 35,000-year-old cave

There is an ancient Bear Cave in Vayots Dzor province. Experts from geological museum and FPWC conducted քուջուջ operations.

They found that the cave is older than previously believed. Samples of Stone Age stone tools were found, as well as pottery from the Neolithic era. Lots of bones were unearthed.

Photos: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025141.html

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You've read 1882 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ibl3ib/aug172020_news_armenias_fish_industry_water/

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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