2020 July 3

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Jul/3/2020 News: (1) Anti-corruption reform (2) Polls (3) Stray dogs (4) Constitutional Court (5) Corruption trial (6) COVID news, Loan vacations, Grandma's phone (7) Real estate (8) Beeline ISP (9) This lake belongs to me (10) Soccer league LOL (11) Mayors busted (12) Yerevan's $10mln garden (13)..
by ar_david_hh


Anti-corruption background checks begin for public officials

The govt passed a law to require judges and officials to undergo "background checks" before being hired.

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Additionally, asset forfeiture law was passed to confiscate embezzled property. A new prosecutors' department was created to handle asset forfeiture.

These new prosecutors are also going through background checks before being hired.

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The new anti-corruption institute tasked with doing these new background checks has audited 26 potential prosecutors: 2 failed, 11 barely passed, 13 passed.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191736

U.S. sends $1mln anti-corruption aid

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191739

New stray dog shelter and strategy to reduce numbers

In 2018, newly-elect Yerevan Mayor Marutyan vowed to end the practice of killing stray dogs. It wasn't just to be humane. City says mass-killings make the other dogs more aggressive, and research shows they breed faster. Not killing is a long-term strategy.

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City took over the task of catching dogs from the private industry, which was mired in corruption.

They began neutering, tagging, and releasing the non-dangerous ones.

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City's dog-department has just launched its new facility. It has a clinic, surgery, post-surgery rooms, more cages, and soon a disease lab.

They neuter 25 dogs per day. 1300 in 2020H1, twice more than last year. 4300 since 2019.

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City says equally important is dog owners' behavior. They shouldn't dump pets on the streets.

The law requires pet owners to register their pets, but only 400 out of 20,000 have done so.

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If they were registered, the owners would less likely dump them, and if they did, the pets' micro-chip would allow City to find and punish the owner.

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To encourage more owners to register, City wants to eliminate the $10/year ownership fee.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/118973

Tags: #StrayDog

La casa de papel

It's a TV show that blew up in Armenia during the pandemic. One of the main actors is Lebanese-Spanish-Armenian [[Hovik Keuchkeryan[[. Today he visited Armenia.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191744

Parliament asks Constitutional Court to delay Kocharyan hearing...

... because Parliament wants time to discuss the opinions recently received from Venice Commission and ECHR on whether Kocharyan can be charged with the law he's charged with as part of March 1st case.

Parliament asked CC to translate and send them the documents.

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Kocharyan earlier withdrew his case from CC but that doesn't mean CC won't discuss the topic, especially since another entity had also asked CC to discuss the topic.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191689

ex-CC judge's entrance is blocked

Hrant Nazaryan is one of the three CC judges who was recently fired. Today he tried to return to his office but the security blocked his entrance to the building, citing the law that fired him.

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Another fired judged Gyulumyan hasn't visited CC for several days now because "she doesn't want to confront the police".

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191697 , https://web.archive.org/save/https://news.am/arm/news/589219.html

Polls: Pashinyan's rating refuses to drop

85% approve Pashinyan's job, 79% President, 68% Ministries, 55% Parliament, 23% opposition.

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What is Pashinyan's weakest point?

16% not tough enough, 10% hires bad officials, 4% not drastic enough.

Gallup International. June 10-27. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191701 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020520.html Poll: is Armenia on the right track? / Were your expectations met?

Did the revolution outcome satisfy your expectations? 79% fully/partially yes, 6% no.

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69% says Armenia is on right/definitely-right direction. 2% definitely-wrong direction (15% in Georgia)

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Will things improve in Armenia? 80% yes (69% in Georgia)

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Is democracy better than other forms of govt? 63% yes (49% in Georgia)

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"Most people are aware of CC crisis and support Constitutional reforms," said CRRC pollster.

CRRC pollster: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020509.html , https://factor.am/265768.html , https://factor.am/265779.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020508.html

Chamber of Lawyers files complaint against NSS

Lawyers complain that NSS violated the attorney-client privilege by wiretapping the suspect when he made a call to the attorney. "The content of the call was later used as evidence," said lawyers.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191750

Healthcare Minister testifies as a witness in bribery case

Months ago the deputy Healthcare Minister Armen Davtyan was charged with accepting bribes. He denies wrongdoing.

The person who gave bribes is Razmik Abrahamyan. He confessed.

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A trial was held today. Minister Torosyan was called to testify as a witness.

He spoke about the anti-corruption fight within the system and how he routinely spoke with directors of various institutes to make sure they don't even try to offer bribes to Ministry officials "because the old way of doing things is gone".

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P.S. The bribe giver is the same guy who is also a defendant in a separate case about the extortion and trafficking of dozens of newborn children. He's the director of the Republican Childbirth Clinic.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191691

COVID stats

+662 infected. +448 healed. +13 deaths.

118,102 tested. 11,211 active. 15,484 healed. 469 deaths.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191683

COVID donations

Kalashnikov began producing AM-103 rifles (up to 50k/year). Their Armenia-based partner donated $170,000 towards COVID.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191713

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11 Lithuanian doctors have finished their 2-week campaign to help Armenia.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/119002

Banks and loan vacations during pandemic

As of June 1st, banks gave loan vacations to 550k people and 17.4k businesses to ease their COVID burden.

They reviewed $2.7 billion in loans.

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Bank deposits shrank 1.1% but went back to pre-pandemic levels recently.

Interest rates are unlikely to increase, says the president of banks union.

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"Unlike the financial crisis of 2008 and 2014, today's situation isn't due to changes in economic fundamentals. This makes managing the problem harder. The parts of the economy that serve as engines are heavily damaged. We hope the govt, businesses, and citizens will succeed in overcoming it."

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191536

Grandma's cellphone / Medical worker disciplined

Context: a grandma's body was lost because of bad handwriting that led to confusion. Then her body was picked up by the wrong people who misidentified her. Her body will be exhumed and returned to the correct family.

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St. Gregory Illuminator hospital says they've identified a junior nurse who allegedly took the dead grandma's phone and stole cash from her account, before grandma's family came to pick up her stuff.

There is an investigation. He could be fired if confirmed.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191663

Oncology institute workers...

... are getting that sweet VIP deal. The institute will use "modern high-quality buses to transport employees for free". Two routes for now.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191687

Real estate prices & transactions

Earlier we learned how COVID affected housing purchase/rent market. All realtors recorded a drop in transactions.

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One realtor saw a 3x decline in transaction numbers. While the prices remained stable at the beginning of the pandemic, in June it dropped by -5%.

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Another realtor recorded a sharp drop in second-hand housing transactions, but no drop in the newly-built housing market.

A noticeable drop was recorded in non-residential property lease prices. "Many landlords gave discounts."

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Across Yerevan, sales transactions +84% in May vs April, but -61% YoY.

New rent transactions +7.8x in May vs April.

More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020466.html

Beeline workers are against TEAM merger

Context: UCOM's co-founder was fired. He formed a new TEAM ISP. TEAM wants to purchase the financially troubled Beeline.

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300 Beeline workers asked Pashinyan to suspend any merger because they're afraid that TEAM will replace them with TEAM's own workers.

TEAM says they won't lay off anyone because they need the existing Beeline workers' experience. "It's a big company. We can't replace the workforce."

https://factor.am/265961.html

SU-30SM jets conduct first target practice

"All targets were hit struck accurately," bragged Pashinyan, who will brag about the jets for another 50 years.

https://youtu.be/bmfsO7PH0jo

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191733

A dude claims Akna Lake belongs to him

A local "heavy guy" claimed the iconic Akna Lake is his property, and he'll do fish-breeding in it.

The Nature Ministry had to respond with "now it's not yours" after environmentalists raised an alarm.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/282613/ , https://newarmenia.am/ակնա-լճում-ձկնաբուծարան-լինելը-կուսո/

Azerbaijan's chief epidemiologist goes 404

"I'm not in Baku. I'm in rayon. Sitting in a village without internet or news. I don't know anything. Call the Ministry," said Abdullah Agaev when someone tried to contact him.

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Meanwhile, Aliyev brought the military to help with the pandemic.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/282603/ , https://www.lragir.am/2020/07/03/561165/

update: Soccer tournament suspended over match-fixing

Last week we learned how Soccer Federation cooperated with INTERPOL, NSS, UEFA, sports betting agencies, and found that 5 teams were fixing the match results in the secondary league (not the main Premier League).

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The entire secondary league is now suspended indefinitely. 45 people associated with those 5 teams are permanently banned. Another 13 are suspended.

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Meanwhile, the Premier League continues its matches. Only 2 rounds left. 3 teams have a chance to win.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191706 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191716 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191724

Tag: #MatchFixing #Soccer

Former soccer federation chief's restaurant raided

ex-HHK MP and soccer boss Nemets Rubo is hiding in Russia. He's wanted for alleged kidnapping and torture, and financial crimes.

His restaurant Harsnaqar, where the alleged kidnapping victim was held, was raided today.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191723 , https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/go26nw/may212020_news_1_hhk_mp_charged_with_abduction/?

Journalists find "fishy" corruption / 2 mayors busted

In January, Hetq outlet published a report about fishy things going on around a fish business in Ararat province.

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Prosecutors say: in 2004 a lease was signed for an 11ha land in Sis. In 2007 the company illegally built fish-breeding pools on 5ha.

Sis's former and current leaders knew about this but ignored it.

The former mayor cannot be charged due to statute of limitations, while the current mayor qualifies for Pashinyan's 2018's mass amnesty.

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Sis was told to either destroy the facility or take it under public control. They chose the latter. The facility was recently sold for $230,000.

Free money: https://hetq.am/hy/article/118996

infrastructure and road upgrades

Norakert has a 7km water delivery network. A govt subsidy will repair 2.5km this year, with the rest being repaired last year. It'll also help 60 businesses to get regular water delivery.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191666

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Sevan Town is having 5 of its roads leading to residential complexes repaired. A $316,000 infrastructure project. It'll also renovate the curbs and water drainage.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191665

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Syunik province has 3.4x more infrastructure upgrades this year, worth $17.7mln. Apartment energy insulation, roads, etc.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191734

Top-5 documentary/biography books Yerevan residents read in May

5) Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. (about how other people will get rich but you won't)

4) D'une porte l'autre, by Charles Aznavour. (about why Marvel movies are nothing more than a theme park)

3) A subtle Art of Not Giving F, by Mark Manson. (about helping mark Manson to get richer)

2) Becoming, by Michael Obama. (about being black)

1) The monk who sold his Ferrari, by Robin Sharma. (about helping Robin Shirama to get richer)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020395.html

this guy plants

Stepan Taroyan takes the dried out branches and wood and turns them into natural art. He works at Yerevan's Green Department.

Photos: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191160

$10mln Yerevan project for a new leisure center and park

Arabkir district's Komitas St. has a neglected park. It'll be renovated and a multi-functional center will be built.

The works have already begun, with 30 budkas being removed from the area to clear the way. The main construction begins in 2021.

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5,000 plants will be installed to close the large gaps. They'll be joined by an amphitheater and a fountain. This will allow concerts and theatrical performances to be held.

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The nearby 'Arabkir' shopping area will be brought under a roof and turned into a modern center with food, Armenian wine-tasting, international cuisine, an area for kid's entertainment, and handmade product sales.

The center's backside will be made out of glass and face the renovated garden.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020467.html

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You've read 1894 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/hkois0/jul32020_news_1_anticorruption_reform_2_polls_3/

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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