2020 August 6

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Aug/6/2020 news: / Drugs over mail = OK / Armenia will have its High-Tech & Science hub. Chinese $$ / Infrastructure++ / Beirut explosion. Armenia audits itself / Anti-corruption: ex-Yerevan mayor & hydro plant, Healthcare Minister, another mayor / Amulsar protest / Gender wage gap & stats / COVID /
by ar_david_hh


You can send drugs over mail now

Healthcare Ministry lifted the ban on the shipment of some personal drugs.

No permission is required if it's done once a year, for 5 drugs, with 3 units each. Anything over the limit needs permission from Ministry.

Details: https://factor.am/274738.html

Tavush province gets more aid for rebuilding

Homes were damaged during Tavush battles. In addition to the initial emergency aid, today the govt sent $575K to subsidize reconstruction.

https://factor.am/274563.html

Bomb bunkers

Pashinyan: my dudes, I went into a bomb bunker the other day and it was in pathetic condition. There was a single bench in it. It's unacceptable.

What we do now, and how we build things now, will define what the New Armenia will be. Spend the money better.

We can't put old busted furniture in a new school building.

The new police patrol cannot drive the old cars, wear the old uniform, and carry the old guns.

Everything must begin from zero. We cannot "yola gnal" anymore.

https://youtu.be/u106MlQ4Hzk

Border village to get new factory / Qualified labor shortage

Pashinyan: I was near the border when I noticed foreign workers doing something, so I asked the CEO what's going on. He said a factory is scheduled to open in Paravakar, Tavush but they couldn't find enough qualified workers so they had to hire some foreigners.

We need to work on this. We have high unemployment but also a labor shortage. It wasn't a low-income job, either. These 200 new jobs pay $10-$20/day.

https://factor.am/274574.html

Azeri protesters

Amnesty International condemned the Aliyev regime for arresting 100 people after the Baku protests that took place during Tavush battles.

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/30769192.html

update: Beirut explosion

Context and Armenian community news here.

Pashinyan: our condolences. Lebanon is one of our closest friends. We can't be indifferent and will provide aid. The All-Armenia Fund created a special account that accepts donations. We decided to send Diaspora Committee's Sinanyan to Beirut, along with humanitarian aid on Saturday.

--

The Armenian Parliament building was lit with Lebanese flag: https://youtu.be/86Sv8UBoS2c?t=10

https://factor.am/274542.html , https://factor.am/274590.html

--

BHK leader Tsarukyan sent $207K aid. Russian-Armenian businessman Samvel Karapetyan donated $200K.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/283755/ , http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/283754/

--

How it happened: A Russian businessman purchased ammonium nitrate from Georgia to transport to Mozambique to use it as a mining explosive, but he had to make an emergency stop in Lebanon.

The Lebanese auditors found problems in his documents and prevented him from leaving. He filed for bankruptcy, left his crew stranded in Lebanon, and ragequit.

The Lebanese court ordered his cargo and ship to be confiscated. The Lebanese govt decided to unload the cargo and keep it in the port "for safety reasons". They subsequently neglected the possible dangers for 6 years.

A welder decided to seal off holes in the warehouse to prevent theft and accidentally caused a chain reaction that reached the ammonium.

Port officials say they warned the govt to act but nothing was done. A security audit was done 6 months ago and a warning was issued to remove it from the city because "it could blow up all of Beirut".

Several officials are currently detained for ignoring safety warnings. A 2-week state of emergency is declared.

The blast flipped over the nearby cruise ship Orient Queen. It was so strong that the ground "disappeared" and the bay water overflowed into the area where the warehouse was.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/05/beirut-explosion-chemicals-abandoned-russian-businessman-triggered/

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8595359/Lebanese-authorities-repeatedly-warned-danger-hazardous-chemicals.html

https://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/first-pictures-emerge-of-a-russian-businessman-whose-ammonium-nitrate-cargo-detonated-in-the-port-of-beirut/

Is Armenia safe? / Factories are audited

LHK leader Marukyan has asked the Emergency Minister to check if there are similar explosive materials in Armenia. He complained that the abandoned chemical factory in Vanadzor has improperly stored ammonium.

--

The govt inspectors audited Vanadzor ChimProm chemical factory and its storage. A report is being prepared.

Nairit chemical factory will be audited soon.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024252.html , https://www.lragir.am/2020/08/06/569727/

Serj Sargsyan's trial

Ex-president Serj is accused of stealing $1M through agricultural oil machinations with the help of his buddy's Flash fuel company.

The trial continued today. Serj, his lawyer, and another defendant didn't appear. Serj said he gave a COVID test and was waiting for results so he couldn't come.

The judge noted that COVID has been retreating in Armenia and found the defendants' absence unjustified (but no sanction). The trial is delayed until September 3rd.

https://factor.am/274658.html

Amulsar protests continue

The context in yesterday's post.

Environmental activists gathered in front of govt building today. They want the Lydian gold miner to stop and re-install the activists' tents in the mine territory. Several activists were detained after ignoring police instructions.

--

They continued the protest on Amulsar territory. An activist claimed one of the Lydian shareholders is from Turkey.

https://factor.am/274703.html , https://factor.am/274709.html , https://factor.am/274770.html

ex-Yerevan mayor Robert Nazaryan is arrested / Mishik's hydro plant

Robert Nazaryan is the former Yerevan mayor (2001-2003) and the former chief of Public Services Regulatory Commission'.

On Oct/31/2019 we learned that he was accused of abuse of power and giving away parts of Yerevan's forests to oligarchs.

--

He was arrested today for another reason. The report says:

In 2011, under the pretense of developing hydro-power in Armenia, Nazaryan did favors to Serj's son-in-law Mikael Minasyan's Dzoraget hydro power plant.

They wrote a law designed to help Dzoraget Hydro at the expense of Armenia's water resources and the ability for others to compete.

--

They raised the small hydro definition's limit from 10MW to 30MW, which allowed Dzoraget Hydro (with 26MW) to be classified as a small one, which allowed them to sell electricity for higher prices.

--

As a result, the consumers overpaid $14.6M, and new smaller hydro plants wasn't possible to be built across Armenia.

Defendant's lawyer said "Nazaryan is innocent and the arrest was illegal."

--

(Other reports said Dzoraget Hydro used to be a public property worth $16.6M that was sold to Mishik's circles for only $7.5M in 2010)

https://factor.am/274610.html , https://factor.am/274648.html , https://factor.am/274682.html

IRS busts land abuse by Tsakhkadzor officials

The report says: in 2014 the Tsakhkadzor officials rigged a land auction with a dummy participant and bidding process to make sure their friend wins it.

https://factor.am/274614.html

Jrashen mayor is charged with land embezzlement

Investigators say: Jrashen mayor lease a piece of land to his father for pennies. The latter sub-leased it to someone else for a higher price. $29K stolen.

Another similar scheme with his son. $37K stolen.

A felony case is launched. https://factor.am/274572.html

Inspectors found an illegal mine

The report says: The Infrastructure Ministry and inspectors conducted audits across Gegharquniq and found that Baroyan Brothers Miner was given a 24-year-long mining license in 2012.

However, the land contracts were signed with violations and the miner is blowing up rocks in a land that's meant for agriculture.

Prosecutors will examine. https://factor.am/274642.html

Aragatsotn corruption busts +40%

YoY for 1H, the corruption investigations rose 40% in the province.

https://factor.am/274716.html

Anti-corruption committee is auditing Healthcare Minister

A while ago when the government expanded free healthcare, many hospitals began receiving more government subsidies to treat patients.

One of these hospitals is managed by Healthcare Minister's wife. Roboserj outlets circulated some numbers that were disputed as false.

--

Now that Armenia has a new Anti-Corruption institute, it began examining the topic.

--

The Minister says the topic has been transparent, there is no conflict of interest or special treatment because the funds went towards subsidizing patients' care, and that Minister's family's wealth hasn't increased from the subsidies received by the hospital.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024248.html , http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155090

Ukraine will investigate the genocide-denier message

Prior to April 24th of this year, Ukrainian MFA sent a note to their colleagues asking them not to use the term "Armenian Genocide". It caused the ire of some Ukrainian politicians.

Now the Ukrainian investigators have an active felony case over the message.

https://factor.am/274730.html

COVID stats

+1,588 tested. +233 infected. +706 healed. +2 deaths.

171,600 tested. 7,263 active. 300 serious. 68 critical.

--

The United States donated 24 lung vents and 2,000 breathing tubes. Germany donated $25K worth PPE.

https://factor.am/274540.html , https://factor.am/274767.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024284.html

Targeted testing - No symptoms required to get a test

Pashinyan: 30% of daily tests used to come positive; now it's 15%. While we used to wait for people to come and get tested, now we'll identity high-risk groups and approach them for testing.

--

Healthcare Minister: supermarkets, factories, banks, municipalities will be targeted. If one of their workers gets infected, we'll mass-test the colleagues instead of waiting for symptoms.

https://factor.am/274545.html

The new SU-30SM fighter jets conducted a training

https://youtu.be/lwGBQQ8BKOw

Wage disparity between men and women / Working hours

Men earn 28% more per hour. Some fields like mining are completely dominated by men.

The study calculates the hourly wages so it won't matter if any gender works more hours throughout the month.

If calculated by monthly, men earn 50% more.

--

Men work 45hr and women 39k per week.

51% of able-bodied men and 39% of women currently work.

Only 20% of people under 24 are working.

--

38% are self-employed.

Unemployed women are more educated than unemployed men.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/120224

Smart City with population 15,000 / High tech & Science

Armenia has finalized the plans to build a Smart City with the help of Chinese investment. The town will have a population of ~15,000. Its location is yet to be determined, but it'll be in a province.

It'll involve a few billion dollars of investments from China and serve a purpose of boosting high-tech and science in Armenia.

--

ADKARS CEO Sarkis Gevorgyan:

We have a long history of being a high tech hub since the Soviet times. We have scientists working for international companies. We can apply the expertise here.

It's part of the new Silk Road initiative. The next 30 years will be about high-tech and science. We need to be ahead of the curve.

--

We hope to radically improve the economy of northern Armenia including Gyumri. Right now everything is centralized in Yerevan. We hope to de-centralize it.

--

The Chinese Bank and Asian Bank are funding it. Smart agriculture, smart medicine, smart sport, smart tourism, Internet of Things, 5G, quantum, neuro-link [INSERT YOUR BUZZWORD HERE].

Also FinTech. If we improve it, everything can be done online and we'll rely less on having to attend bank branches.

The city's blueprint will be drawn in 2021.

--

Shirak Governor: we're open to new high-tech investments from China.

[Both sides proceeded to sign the documents.]

[Throughout the 1.5-hour press conference they couldn't fix the WeChat app to establish a conversation with the Chinese colleagues.]

https://youtu.be/4dBRsZMyQD8

https://factor.am/274529.html

Tags: #SmartCity

Tax waivers for winery

Ijevan's cognac factory won't pay import taxes and delay the VAT for 3 years while it invests $420K for 37 new jobs with $290/mo salary.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024240.html

AM-EU agreement

Italian Chamber of Deputies approved the comprehensive cooperation agreement between Armenia and the EU.

https://factor.am/274522.html

Armenian startup gets funding

High tech Minister: Krisp went from 0 to 600 corporate clients in a year. From $0 to $4M turnover.

Forbes placed it in the Top-50 list of most promising artificial intelligence companies.

Now they got a $5M investment. The app removes background noise from video calls.

https://youtu.be/s0N-J_uyh28

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024183.html

Personal museum

Vaghashen resident turned his basement into a museum with thousands of artifacts and traditional tools. He collected it from across Armenia. He gets many tourists from Europe.

Photos: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024190.html

--

You've read 1900 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/i4z9oq/aug62020_news_drugs_over_mail_ok_armenia_will/

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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