2020 August 24
- 1 Daily news and anti-corruption report
- 2 A solder winds up in Azeri territory
- 3 Georgian mini-bus rolls down a gorge
- 4 Martuni turns 95 / Expansion plans
- 5 Kocharyan is suing Armenia / His lawyer's wife will be the judge
- 6 Healthcare Minister "disappears" from internet
- 7 ex-Justice Minister and CC chief Tovmasyan's trial
- 8 Dali and Picasso return to National Gallery
- 9 COVID stats / Tourism slowly recovers
- 10 Poll: COVID outranks unemployment as #1 problem / Trust towards institutes
- 11 The U.S. will send more COVID aid
- 12 Gasprom begins layoffs
- 13 Happy real birthday, Armenia
- 14 Total and average sum of salaries increase
- 15 Ultra-traditionalists protest again
- 16 School funding to increase as part of Education Reforms
- 17 Major road repairs in Hrazdan
- 18 EU funds a gravel bike route for tourists
- 19 Eco-tourism in Artavan / Mirror Lake
- 20 War on fish pouching to save Lake Sevan
- 21 Khosrov Forests
- 22 update: Chess Olympiad
- 23 Դարանած վագր, անիծված սառնարան
Daily news and anti-corruption report
Aug/24/2020 news: / Poll: COVID, income, future / SU-25 and SU-30CM jets / Soldier wanders off / Artsakh apartments++ / Kocharyan sues Armenia / CC judge Tovmasyan's trial / People like art / U.S. sends aid / Gasprom layoffs / Employment++ / School reform / Tourism & Nature++ / Warehouse collapses
New military deal with Russia / SU-25 modernization
Defense Minister Tonoyan visited Moscow to participate in joint military-games and to discuss a new deal. He met MOD Sergey Shoygu.
They signed a deal to modernize and repair Armenia's Su-25 fighter jets.
Russia says they're ready to discuss the purchase of the second batch of Su-30CM jets by Armenia. Armenia wants 8 more in addition to the existing 4.
A solder winds up in Azeri territory
Army: // officer Gurgen Alaverdyan went to check the outpost but got lost due to bad weather. Azeri army lies about it being an infiltration attempt. //
Azeri military confirmed that they have the soldier.
Armenian HRO complained about mistreatment as shown in videos published by the Azeri soldiers. Alaverdyan was handcuffed and had his eyes closed with a winter hat. He was being berated.
"The hate words indicate that the actions were due to his ethnicity," said the Ombudsman.
Georgian mini-bus rolls down a gorge
President and PM sent condolences to Georgia over a tragic incident that took the lives of 17 and left the other 3 injured. The bus rolled down the Shatili gorge from an 80m height. Tomorrow is a mourning day in Georgia.
Martuni turns 95 / Expansion plans
Artsakh's Martuni city turns 95 today. President Arayik said they plan to build 500 new apartments until 2025, to help those who suffered from the 90s war, and for new buyers.
The first step is to build a new sewer network and lay asphalt/tiles where necessary.
Kocharyan is suing Armenia / His lawyer's wife will be the judge
Ex-president Kocharyan is suing Armenia for $4,200. He complains that "March 1st" judge Anna Danibekyan allegedly broke the medical secrecy law by publishing medical information (heart arrhythmia and Stage-3 hypertension) about Kocharyan while the latter was in the hospital and couldn't appear in court.
The judge in this lawsuit will be Kocharyan lawyer's wife.
No pRoBLem bRo 👌👌👍🆗: https://armtimes.com/hy/article/194127
Healthcare Minister "disappears" from internet
Sim salabim... poooof. Arsen Torosyan closed his official Facebook account. The personal account was closed 5 months ago.
Minister's office refused to comment on whether it's related to an earlier court order that required him to issue an apology to ex-director of St. Gregory Illuminator hospital (Serj's relative).
In 2018, the Ministry found large embezzlement and subsidy fraud at the hospital. Torosyan called the hospital's administration corrupt, while the court found it to be defamatory.
Torosyan said he would not apologize "for stating the truth". He doubled-down on it and called for reforms in "untrustworthy courts".
Healthcare Ministry says the Minister is currently at work and hasn't resigned.
ex-Justice Minister and CC chief Tovmasyan's trial
Hrayr Tovmasyan recently lost his seat as Constitutional Court (CC) chief judge (remains as a standard judge). Earlier, he served as HHK's Justice Minister.
During his time as Minister, he and his godson (a workplace subordinate) allegedly committed forgery, notary fraud, property embezzlement. The two are facing abuse of power charges.
Today was their trial.
The prosecutor wanted the journalists to videotape the trial, but the defendant Tovmasyan objected to it because "he's a judge so recording this trial could negatively affect the judicial system".
The judge informed that either way the journalists are allowed to stay and write the process on paper, even if they can't videotape.
Defendant said he's OK with writing, but not OK with videotaping.
"If the trial is videotaped then I'll remain standing throughout the process because they [Pashinyan] did all this just to see me sitting on the defendant's chair," said Tovmasyan.
The judge prohibited journalists from audio/video recording.
The judge then delayed the trial until September 7th because the prosecutors sent mandatory legal documents to the defendant but it didn't arrive on time because the Post Office returned it to the sender. (👏👏👏)
Dali and Picasso return to National Gallery
A long line was formed in front of the National Museum in the Republic Square. 4,500 people had earlier signed up to view 260 works by Dali and Picasso, in under 4 days.
The Gallery decided to extend it by another week.
The ticket costs $1-$7 and is free for under 6yo.
The collection belongs to Alexander Shadin. He collected the 260 pieces throughout 15 years.
COVID stats / Tourism slowly recovers
No accurate infections stats on Mondays.
A new infection hotspot was found in Vardenis city. The govt reminded residents to follow safety.
Yerevan inspectors haven't found safety violations by businesses for 10 days.
Nature Minister Romanos: tourism is flourishing in Tsakhkadzor again. The hotels are already 90% booked.
Poll: COVID outranks unemployment as #1 problem / Trust towards institutes
Data from July 29:
The World Bank poll says 36% of Armenians view COVID19 as the priority problem right now. 33% said the same about unemployment.
54% said their finances worsened due to COVID.
36% cut spending on food. 43% cut on basic necessities.
30% think finances will stay bad for 1 year. 25% improve. 33% worsen.
53% said the government's COVID aid packages were party/fully sufficient. 65% said they didn't benefit from it.
51% of parents are ready to send kids to school in September.
69% partly/fully trust the state healthcare system.
72% partly/fully trust the police.
The U.S. will send more COVID aid
USAID will donate another $1.4m to Armenia against the pandemic fight, bringing it to $4m so far this year.
The new aid is for people who are stranded and homeless, agriculture, and tourism.
Gasprom begins layoffs
Context: Gasprom's subsidiary Gasprom-Armenia took the entire burden of the price hike on its shoulders when Russian Gasprom raised the gas price on the Armenian border in 2019.
In 2020, Gasprom-Armenia asked the regulators for permission to hike the prices for regular consumers, citing the inability to swallow the entire cost by themselves.
The regulators agreed to raise it, but not for low-income users. The prices weren't raised by as much as Gasprom-Armenia had hoped. The company said they'd have to do 1,000 layoffs.
A few dozens inspectors/guards in Lori province were notified about their upcoming layoff today. The workers complain that their seniority and financial difficulties were ignored by the company.
The company says they lay off inspectors with low performance metrics (fewer checks per X days).
Workers said they didn't inspect often enough because many consumers were exempt from utility payments as part of govt's COVID aid package.
Happy real birthday, Armenia
30 years ago on August 23rd, the Supreme Council declared Armenia a sovereign state. Next year, on September 21st, Armenian voters "ratified" it with a referendum for final independence.
Pashinyan and President Sarkissian congratulated. "Congrats. It was a difficult task under internal and external pressures. Let's improve our institutes now."
Total and average sum of salaries increase
Pashinyan: the gross salary fund of all workers in July was $265m, versus $244m last year.
The number of workers rose from 606k to 613k.
The average salary per job rose from $402 to $431.
The numbers indicate that our crisis management packages helped to save jobs and preserve salaries.
Ultra-traditionalists protest again
Members from radical "ultra-traditionalist" Kamq group held a protest in front of govt building and demanded the Education Minister's resignation. They don't like the education reforms, most notably the Lanzarote Convention which will help children to avoid becoming victims of sexual exploitation.
Activists are afraid 6-year-old children will be taught sex in schools. Ministry dismisses it, saying it's more like about teaching the child to "avoid taking candy from a white van".
School funding to increase as part of Education Reforms
The Edu. Min. plans to recalculate how the funds are allocated to schools beginning in 2021. The proposal was submitted for public discussion last week.
Ministry: besides the base funds, we want to give schools additional funds based on performance indicators. Minimum salaries will be reviewed.
The primary teacher (Դասղեկ) salary will rise 10-20% based on the number of students in the class. Some others will get a 10% raise.
Major road repairs in Hrazdan
For the first time, 10 Hrazdan city roads are being renovated simultaneously as part of a subsidy program.
EU funds a gravel bike route for tourists
Khndozresk has a new bike path funded by the EU. This sport is developing in Armenia and is part of eco-tourism. Signs are being installed to inform the tourists.
Eco-tourism in Artavan / Mirror Lake
Those of you who like nature adventure will like Artavan and its Mirror Lake. The water's clarity gave the name Mirror, while the popularity comes from its islands that resemble the Earth's continents.
The local tourism began developing 4 years ago when the residents began leasing their homes AirBnB-style, in addition to hosting camping/jeeping activities for tourists.
High-tech is no stranger to this place. 53 families switched to solar-powered water heaters.
Some objects have QR codes that will tell you about the surroundings if you scan with a smartphone. The village also offers a VR tour.
War on fish pouching to save Lake Sevan
Recently the Nature Ministry prohibited unregulated fishing in Sevan and hired guards to enforce it. Fishing is allowed with permits and limited quantities.
MP Taguhi Tovmasyan: // for years, our national treasure was ruthlessly exploited by public officials who did so by hiring ordinary fishers. It was a big business.
I received complaints from ordinary fishers about the ban, but this day was inevitable. It was overdue.
They raised some valid complaints, however:
The current rules define how big the fishing net holes should be to prevent catching of small fish, but the standards are off and it can still catch small ones. As a result, fishers can have legal issues.
The regulated entry points for fishing boats are too few, with bad infrastructure, and cannot handle hundreds of boats in a short period. Many fishers prefer to go there at once, on the dawn.
More needs to be done to allow more locals to fish after paying a license fee.
On one hand, we have years of unregulated fishing that harms the lake, on the other is the threat that the fish price could rise sharply. I think we can find a middle ground. //
Caucasus Nature Foundation donated another $102k to help preserve the protected Khosrov Forests. More donations will be given to Nature Ministry soon.
update: Chess Olympiad
The team lost to Russia and England but defeated Egypt. The next opponent is Greece, which is the 2nd in the group. Armenia is the 3rd in the group. That match will conclude the 1/8th tour.
Դարանած վագր, անիծված սառնարան
Dzyunik Refrigerator Inc. has been trying to blow up their old Yerevan warehouse for a month now. Earlier they screwed up the placement of TNTs and part of the building didn't collapse. They tried 3 times.
They made the 4th attempt today. "We're doing it carefully today because it's too close to surrounding structures. It needs to collapse in two stages."
They managed to collapse the frontal part this morning, while the backside remained standing, albeit significantly weakened and leaning.
Then a cursed miracle. As everyone was walking around and minding their business, the remaining part collapsed under its weight, causing widespread panic and a huge cloud of dust that swallowed the surroundings.
Everyone began running around. "Vazgen was inside! Vazgen was inside!"
"No, he wasn't."
"Where is he?"
"Here he is, ara. Here he is."
You've read 2003 words.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ifx9zy/aug242020_news_poll_covid_income_future_su25_and/
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.
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2020 Daily Armenia Reports|