2020 September 14

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Sep/14/2020: \\ election fraud: BHK's factory \\ Kocharyan & $600m \\ foreign affairs: USA, RUS, AZE events, shots fired \\ economic freedom index \\ parliament grills wannabe judges \\ berries (lol) \\ music & culture \\ COVID \\ school begins \\ infrastructure \\ Yerevan's metro, buses, elevators
by ar_david_hh


new election fraud charges against BHK / Cement factory

BHK party leaders were earlier charged with buying voters during the 2017 elections.

The new report says: // during the 2012 and 2017 elections, the employees of [Gagik Tsarukyan's] AraratCement factory were threatened with termination unless they joined the BHK party and recruited voters. Some of them paid bribes to residents. //

A felony case is launched. More info is being gathered. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027607.html Robik Kocharyan's "$600 million investment in Russian company" / April 2016

Parliamentary security committee chief Andranik K. says they gathered 800 pages of facts about April 2016 battles. The investigation of the former government's handling of the job is over and will be finalized this month. The Parliament will then decide how to publish it.

--

Andranik K. continues: // Robert Kocharyan is successfully preventing the March 1st trial from entering the main fact-presentation stage. They're manipulating the court to delay the process.

When Kocharyan said he didn't have the $2m bail to get out, various oligarchs agreed to help him.

One of the donors was [Russian tech giant] SISTEMA's director Yevtushenko. Kocharyan has been a SISTEMA board member for years, which means he must have had his "share". The public needs to know these details.

--

Years earlier, Garnik Margaryan revealed that the Kocharyan family invested $600m in SISTEMA. It was not denied. There were overwhelming facts. Garnik Margaryan was later arrested and released.

We need to know where that $600m came from and how they were invested in SISTEMA. The March 1st court recently agreed to discuss Kocharyan's finances, but behind closed doors, which prevented the public from knowing details. //

https://factor.am/283490.html

19 years ago today...

Vladimir Putin arrived in Armenia to discuss Kocharyan's plan to give Russia/Russian companies some of the Armenian infrastructures in exchange for debt cancellation. The first deal was worth $100m.

https://youtu.be/wI46aX1pOnM?t=295

Don't miss Sunday news

Ինչպես պապն էր ասում ՝ գիրք չկարդացողը շան տղայա:

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/is77j5/sep132020_news_postjuly_battles_in_tavush_border/

Armenia-U.S. relations

"Armenian-American Strategic Dialogue" is a new cooperation initiative that began in 2019. Its second session was held today. The two countries will outline new priorities for cooperation.

Justice Minister Badasyan discussed the anti-corruption and police reforms with the U.S. ambassador.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027535.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027589.html

Armenia-Russia relations

AM-RU soldiers used radio-electronic weapons to shut down "enemy drones" during a joint military drill.

"Shikla" units were used to locate and destroy the "drones" by using 23mm automatic guns, within 2.5km distance, and 1.5km altitude.

1,500 soldiers participated in drills which involved SU-25 jets and helicopters.

A group of Armenian soldiers flew to Russia to participate in the upcoming Caucasus-2020 military drills.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027596.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027624.html

Armenia-Egypt relations

MFA Mnatsakanyan visited Egypt, met their President and MFA, and discussed Turkey's destabilizing actions in the eastern Mediterranean and Caucasus.

"We have strong relations with Egypt dating back to centuries. Armenians living in Egypt are allowed to preserve their culture and language. They've made significant contributions towards the formation of Egyptian institutes."

Context: Greece and Egypt recently signed a maritime deal which angered Turkey.

"Armenia's goal is to provide physical security for Nagorno Karabakh population and to help with recognition of their right to self-determination."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027538.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027539.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027543.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027578.html

shots fired at the border

Armenian army fired shots to stop the Azeri army from conducting engineering work aimed at strengthening trenches. The army denied the Azeri govt's claims that the shots were fired at Azeri Aliyebli village.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/195711

Azerbaijani government

... isn't happy that several Lebanese-Armenians settled in the Artsakh Republic. They contacted international bodies and OSCE.

https://factor.am/283576.html

Azerbaijani minorities

An ethnic Avar activist complained about ethnic discrimination by Azeri authorities. "They are stopping Avars for no reason and extorting more bribes than they do from ethnic Azeris. They won't let Avars start a business and have a normal life in [Azerbaijan's northern] Balakan region. We ask [international leaders] for help. We don't want conflict but they are leaving no choice."

https://youtu.be/yeZqaP8gu54

Azerbaijani air traffic control

... prohibited two Russian military planes from using Azeri airs to move back from Syria to Russia. The Russian planed had to divert and use Turkmen territories.

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/285113/

economic freedom index

Canadian Fraser ranks Armenia 18th out of 162 in terms of economic freedoms. It's up 9 positions from last time.

Hong Kong 1, Georgia 8, Armenia 18, Moldova 78, Azerbaijan 112, Venezuela 162.

https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/economic-freedom-of-the-world-2020.pdf

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/285087/

Parliament is Q&A-ing Constitutional Court nominees

Context: Constitutional Court has 3 vacant seats. The govt, the president, and the judicial branch have each nominated one candidate, who need to go through a Parliamentary Q&A and a secret-ballot vote before approval.

--

Opposition BHK and LHK will boycott the election process because they opposed the initial process that kicked out the 3 old judges and demoted HHK's Hrayr Tovmasyan. They also complained that none of the candidates met them one-on-one for talks.

--

The Q&A and appointment process will be monitored by the OSCE Human Rights division in cooperation with the Armenian HR Ombudsman.

--

The first candidate for Q&A is Yervand Khundukyan, nominated by the judicial branch. He was introduced to Parliament by a fellow judge.

The candidate said he doesn't support the proposed idea of merging the Constitutional Court with the Cassations Court.

"We the judges are generally conservative towards such changes. I'm against major reorganizations. The role of CC and Cassations currently differ from one another."

--

He wants CC to have more independent powers over interpreting constitutional norms, while at the same time to give Parliament the right to "respond" if CC rules something unconstitutional.

He was asked about his past activities and his role in the shutting down of opposition A1+ media outlet during the former regime.

During another Q&A session, Ind. MP Babajanyan got into a heated argument with the candidate and accused him of being generally "intolerant".

--

There were also personal questions about his sons' alleged "preferential" treatment in the military. He denied preferential treatment, saying the location of his son's service was chosen through the regular lottery system.

Meanwhile, the Corruption Prevention Commission will be vetting his past activities.

--

NGO chief Arthur Sakunts criticized the judicial branches' nominee, saying he has a questionable past and had 13 of his verdicts overruled by ECHR in the past.

"At one point Pashinyan said any judge who had a verdict overruled by ECHR should automatically resign. If this nominee is approved, it'll be a step backward from revolution's spirit."

--

The second candidate is Arthur Vagharshyan, nominated by president Sarkissian. He was presented to Parliament by the president's aide.

When asked to comment LHK's complaints that he didn't meet LHK for discussions, he said he wasn't aware that it was him who had to initiate such conversation. "Had I known that LHK wanted to talk, I would have contacted them."

--

The third candidate is Edgar Shatiryan, nominated by the government. He was presented to Parliament by Justice Minister for Q&A.

--

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027542.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027548.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027555.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027560.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027558.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027584.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027585.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027593.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027605.html

https://factor.am/283238.html

https://factor.am/283238.html

https://factor.am/283466.html

https://factor.am/283594.html

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/195683

the world is stress-eating berries and pumpkin

Pashinyan: the exports of strawberries, blackberry, and currant (հաղարջ) has increased by 166% during the pandemic, reaching $5.5m turnover.

It's important to note that it's mostly produced in greenhouses which helps to develop that industry and make us less dependent on weather conditions.

The farmer doesn't have to wait to find out the size of the harvest. It's "you harvest what you plant".

Similarly, the exports of mushroom, pumpkin and spinach grew 62%, reaching $3.2m.

Flower exports rose 17%, reaching $3.9m.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027532.html

the world is producing music during the pandemic

Composer Tigran Mansuryan wrote two pieces during COVID. It'll be presented to the audience soon. The orchestra plans 50 performances dedicated to its 15th anniversary.

One of the new pieces, called "the sound of silence" is about the pandemic, and was written at the request of a German musician who launched an initiative to ask musicians around the world to compose a piece relevant to current times.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027611.html

the organizers of Dilijan concert won't be penalized

The new Quarantine rules are laxer and allow up to 60 people at a commercial concert. The police say yesterday's Dilijan concert met the requirements. Patrons wore masks, had their temperatures taken, etc.

Prime Minister's office criticized the police's decision, saying "you and I both saw that the safety measures weren't respected."

https://factor.am/283445.html

https://factor.am/283540.html

fight in Gyumri

Presumably a mask-related confrontation between the police and Gyumri resident let to a scuffle. Arms were twisted. A woman laid on the police vehicle to prevent it from leaving with the detainee.

https://youtu.be/AXEsaadSmkU

Russian Airoflot will resume flights to Armenia

on October 25th

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/285089/

schools resume after a lengthy pandemic break

The Emergency ended a few days ago and was replaced with less strict "Quarantine" which allows schools to operate under strict safety conditions.

Only first-graders were allowed to attend today, to prevent overcrowding. The rest will go tomorrow.

Thousands of teachers and students with chronic health problems will continue with online education.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027530.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027577.html

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ik4ge4/aug312020_news_archaeologists_examine_a_strange/?

new schools are being built

21 new preschools will open across Armenia on September 21st, says Education Ministry. The rural facilities will come equipped with the necessary furniture.

It is co-funded by the World Bank. 136 such facilities have been built since 2019.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027531.html

Infrastructure upgrades across Armenia

5 more seismic-proof schools were rebuilt across Armenia.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/195750

--

Madina, Gegharquniq will have two subsidized projects to install lighting on all streets and to build an irrigation network.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027603.html

--

Chkalovka, Gegharquniq will have several streets and parks renovated by the end of this year, for the first time since the 1980s.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027604.html

--

Azatan's main road is being renovated. It connects to the M1 highway.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/195753

NSS busts Gyumri officials with corruption

The NSS says: we found corruption in city-run "Yuri Vardanyan Sports Center" and "Hamalir Youth Sports Center".

Officials from these organizations hired 24 fake employees beginning in 2010 and embezzled $89,000 in salaries.

A felony cause is launched. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027553.html

Yerevan replaces more Soviet-era elevators

... in apartment complexes around the capital. 134 out of 3,500 have been replaced. 370 more this year.

"For comparison, only 20 were replaced in the period between Armenia's independence and 2018," flexed Municipality spokesman.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027592.html

Yerevan could reform its architecture department

Mayor Marutyan says they're thinking about abolishing the position of "chief Yerevan architect" to replace it with some kind of a committee.

Recently the chief architect Arthur Meschyan resigned after promising in 2018 to serve only two years.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027600.html

Yerevan's upcoming new 12-meter long buses...

... need to be purchased through an auction. None of the sellers met the requirement. A new auction will be held to buy the 100 buses.

As for the auction for the other 100 mini-buses, there is already a winner. Buses will arrive in 3 months.

There are also plans to buy medium-sized 9-meter buses.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027599.html

update: Yerevan's new metro station

Last month we learned that Mayor Marutyan scrapped the plans to have a private company built a bridge then a separate metro station with malls on top. Instead, the city plans to use public funds to pay a lot less and build a bridge with a metro station on top.

--

Today Marutyan confirmed that they discussed it with the federal government and decided that public funds will be used. It'll cost $35m for the feds. "The government has reassured that they have the money," said Marutyan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027595.html

President Sarkissian met the British Science Association director..

... Lord Ara Darzi, an ethnic Armenian and a child of the Genocide survivor. Ara became the director last week. The two discussed Sarkissian's ATOM scientific initiative and possible cooperation in a program related to artificial intelligence.

Sarkissian then visited Cambridge's science center to eat free pizza because someone was doing a generous giveaway this sentence is fake news designed to test if you're still reading.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027591.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027619.html

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/iod3a6/sep72020_news_electric_car_imports_skyrocket/

How this village in Armenia is keeping a 5000-year-old cheese-making tradition alive

https://www.insider.com/village-in-armenia-is-keeping-cheese-making-tradition-alive-2020-2?jwsource=cl

Grandmaster Levon Aronyan

Finished third in the online Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX competition held yesterday.

He scored 5.5 out of 9 after tying with Magnus and Kasparov but losing to Lagrave.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027527.html

Exhibition dedicated to composer Komitas

... was launched in the Romanian city of Georgen, aided by local officials and the Armenian community.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027562.html

--

You've read 2044 words. 2044 is when we'll finally have flying cars.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/isuk8z/sep142020_election_fraud_bhks_factory_kocharyan/

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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