2020 September 16

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Sep/16/2020 news: \\ education reforms: Minister & opposition locked in a fierce battle \\ Pashinyan about judges, COVID \\ irrigated lands \\ drivers in Russia \\ USA trade \\ sheep production \\ ozone & nature \\ paternity leave \\ FDIC insurance \\ doctors protest \\ Hrant Dink \\ cattle cave \\
by ar_david_hh


major bolola happened today

Education Minister Harutyunyan files lawsuit over "defamatory fake news"

As part of the 2019-ongoing political campaign against Education Minister Harutyunyan, several "traditionalist" opposition figures circulated rumors that the Ministry plans to use խուժան school books containing questionable and expletive content for "sexual education".

The Ministry said the circulated book was unrelated to the upcoming education reforms, and that they have no such plans. That didn't stop BHK leader Tsarukyan from claiming "look at how Ministry is brainwashing our kids with perverted sexual stuff" during his recent speech to supporters.

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Today the Education Minister Harutyunyan decided to file a defamation lawsuit against those who claimed he was distributing those books. "The financial compensation will be used to buy furniture for one of the kindergartens."

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195849

ARF holds protests against Minister

ARF resumed the 2019 rallies against Harutyunyan. He is accused of harming traditional values, language, church, poor management, etc.

https://factor.am/283965.html

the protests reach Parliament

LHK party took the protest to Parliament building by hanging an anti-Harutyunyan poster on the main floor, after receiving permission from Speaker Mirzoyan. LHK joins ARF and BHK with the demand for Harutyunyan's resignation.

Ruling QP MPs trolled the poster by taking a photo with it because it contains the ruling party's "make a step" slogan.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195866

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195876

Education Minister Harutyunyan fires back at critics / Discusses reforms

Minister Harutyunyan: // there are big reforms on the horizon, so certain political circles are concerned that the introduction of critical thinking in schools will take away their future "voter base".

Some "experts" who incorrectly characterized the history book reforms as "anti-Armenian" used to be fed by the former regime to write falsified materials that appeased the former regime. They've been cut off from the funding, so now they're upset. We involved many teachers and real experts during the development of the new curriculum.

--

the resignation calls

I won't meet activists whose only demand is my resignation. If there was a reason for my resignation I would do it in an instant. No such topic has been brought up during party talks.

I met the students who faced difficulties with new university admission rules, but unfortunately, some of them were influenced by political circles and had different motives behind complaints. I won't meet that specific group.

--

ruling MP's resignation

I haven't had discussions with [recently resigned QP MP and wrestler] Julfalakyan in months. [He resigned after having sports-related differences, allegedly with deputy Minister. Education Ministry includes Sports Ministry]. Julfalakyan could have used his right to raise a topic but we held 0 conversations.

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the boxes

ARF gave me boxes so I could pack my personal items and leave. I could use those boxes to stuff them with materials about past corruption and send it back to ARF. [ARF responded saying the Minister only remembers about corruption when he's criticized.]

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tuition aid?

We're currently discussing a possible COVID-related tuition subsidy for university students. We received a letter signed by 5,000 students yesterday. There might be a meeting with them soon.

--

teachers

So far we mass-tested 6,000 teachers before the school season. Only 1% had COVID. There will be unannounced visits to schools to make sure safety rules are respected.

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school management

Schools will be governed differently after reforms. Multiple schools will be included in one network governed by one board. The number of board members will reduce so thousands of people won't have to travel for a board meeting. Board members will be retrained. They won't be under influence of certain groups as it was done in the past.

--

meddling in others' affairs

The opposition accuses us of pressuring others. Let me tell you a story. LHK MP1 calls and tells me to support a certain library director against protesters, while LHK MP2 later calls and says it's the protesters who are correct, and I should punish the library director.

Look up how many of my preferred candidates won seats in govt-funded organizations, in which the boards - mind you - were formed by our rules... not many did. For you it's a weakness, for me it's a strength.

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science & unis

The reforms will allow better cooperation between universities and research institutes, independent activities for scientific organizations, creation of scientific consortia, postgraduate programs will be brought in line with European standards.

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teacher shortage

Teachers who move to border or mountainous areas, where there is a shortage of tutors, will receive a 30% raise and other benefits.

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more schools

We opened 60 new preschools as part of a plan to enroll 70% of 3-6yo kids by 2023.

37 new small schools will be built by 2021. We spent an unprecedented $4m in 2020. //

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195878

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027806.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027810.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027821.html

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195889

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027841.html

http://arka.am/en/news/society/armenia_to_implement_major_education_reforms_/

https://youtu.be/YRoelVkffZQ?t=15

Tag: #EducationReforms #ArayikHarutyunyan #bolola

Minister Harutyunyan goes full savage in Parliament / Tsarukyan & church rape

There was a Q&A in Parliament during which opposition BHK MPs accused Education Minister Harutyunyan of incompetence and damaging Armenian values and failed reforms.

At one point, Harutyunyan fired back by saying the new curriculum will help certain groups [BHK folks] better control their hormones and respect the church, so they won't rape women in church premises anymore.

Context: during USSR, the BHK leader Tsarukyan and his friends were convicted of raping a Russian tourist in an abandoned church. President Kocharyan's judge would later overturn the verdict after Tsarukyan became a business partner with the Kocharyan family.

--

BHK accused the Minister of inappropriate language because he referred to Tsarukyan and his friends as "a group of Kotayk residents with hormones". They said it was offensive because it targeted the entire Kotayk population.

The Minister responded saying it was directed towards a specific group and nothing to do with Kotayk as a whole.

--

Minister Harutyunyan displayed a 1998 խուժան book and accused opposition BHK of lying about him trying to introduce that book into the curriculum. "A complete lie, dear parents. Be vigilant and don't let them manipulate you. The reforms will benefit your children."

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195901

Pashinyan talks about Constitutional Court judges

"The Constitutional Court crisis is over", said Pashinyan in Parliament, a day after Parliament nominated 3 new judges. He criticized some groups for wanting to appoint [pro-governemnt or anti-Roboserj] partisan judges.

Pashinyan: // Some groups are upset because they wanted to see their folks in the court. Now they teach us about the revolution's values and how the new judges don't meet those values, as if we don't know what the values are. It's not a perfect court. The govt did its duties. //

Some of the aforementioned anti-Roboserj activists later complained about his harsh tone and told him to calm down.

--

Context: The 3 seats were vacated after a bill was passed that fired the judges who served terms longer than what the Constitution envisioned for new judges. This was a "compromise" solution by the government because it didn't remove all of the former regime's judges, and even kept HHK MP Tovmasyan in court.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/195913

https://news.am/arm/news/602526.html

deserted lands to get water

Choratan's new 3.7km irrigation network is under construction. Soon, the locals will turn the abandoned lands into figs, walnuts, and pineapple gardens.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195844

soldier dies in front lines

The second day of a shootout on the border, after Azeris tried to do engineering work. An Armenian contractor died today. An Azeri soldier was wounded yesterday.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195884

Russia will allow migrant drivers to use original licenses

Armenia had earlier asked Russia to allow migrants from EAEU member-states to use their home country licenses for driving jobs. Russia has agreed. They'll amend their law to make the exception.

Earlier, the only exception was if the driver came from a country where Russian was an official language. When the bill passes, the "EAEU" will become the second qualifier.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027890.html

trade with the United States

The govt met American colleagues to discuss trade cooperation, American laws/standards for imports, GSP trade system for Armenian businesses.

--

The trade with the U.S. rose by 48% in 2019, reaching $334m. Exports +13% ($54m), imports +57% ($280m).

--

Armenia exported metals, diamonds, alcohol, canned fruits, nuts, and berries.

Armenia imported cars, medical devices, rope and thread, poultry and meat, medicine.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027787.html

massive rise in sheep exports

Pashinyan: we exported +256% sheep in 1H. 41,000 small-sized cattle worth $3.4m. This is a direct result of our earlier programs. I continue to be convinced that cattle is one of our agricultural industry's most prospective branches. It's a great way to defeat poverty. Farmers should take advantage of govt subsidies by joining cooperatives.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195853

Artsakh will also develop its cattle industry

President Arayik: we'll soon import and distribute 10,000 Adilbay and Kalmikian sheep to our farmers. Experts say we can breed 500,000 sheep.

For comparison, today we have 70,000 less productive ones. The growth numbers cited by Pashinyan shows that we have a potential in Artsakh, too.

For the next 5 years, the govt will import and give the female sheep to farmers.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195881

Lydian meeting

Pashinyan met Amulsar gold miner Lydian's board member Jeffrey Coach to discuss the topic of suspended mining operations and environmental issues.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195893

Ozone layer is recovering

Ozone can be damaged by certain chemicals. The international community has taken steps to replace 99% of them. It'll take 100 years for the negative effects to fully disappear.

It's recovering, though. Armenian scientists have been using a special device to track the ozone layer for 21 years. They recorded the past decade's best result in 2019.

https://youtu.be/BDVFemLFufY

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027891.html

Lebanese-Armenians

The police released a video to guide Lebanese diasporans on how to obtain a passport, drivers' license, etc.

https://youtu.be/WdJdCJ6VBKU

Parliament approves paternity leave and parental protections

Parliament voted 116-1 to approve the QP bill. It'll give 5 days of paid paternity leave to fathers, and prevent employers from worsening the workers' rights and terms within 1 year of child's birth.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027789.html

FDIC insurance limit has been raised

Parliament voted 117-0 to approve a BHK bill to provide more protection to bank account holders.

If your bank goes bust, you are guaranteed to receive up to $33,000 if your money is in Drams, or $15,000 if it's in foreign currency.

It used to be $21,000 and $11,000.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027793.html

Yolyan blood center ex-director charged w/embezzlement

Yolyan center's former director colluded with his secretaries to embezzle a portion of salary bonuses, worth $56,000, that was meant to be paid to employees between 2001-2018, according to authorities.

A felony case is launched. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195872

Yolyan blood center's new director

Samvel Danielyan replaced the aforementioned Yolyan director in 2018. He has been laid off.

Due to his retirement age, the law prohibits the renewal of his contract as a director, explained Healthcare Ministry.

Nonetheless, several doctors want him to stay. Child cancer clinic director Gevorg Tamamyan and his colleagues also decided to quit unless the Yolyan director stays. They sent a letter to Pashinyan to intervene.

"We aren't sure if the law prohibits renewal of his contract, but even if it does, the govt should do everything possible to find solutions to preserve experts like him."

https://factor.am/283737.html

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195897

LED lights

FPWC doesn't just protect wild animals. They want to help nature. They teamed up with Viva Telecom to install energy-efficient street lighting in Vaghanit. The LED uses 80% less energy.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195896

ախմախ լակոտ

A resident of Sari Tagh district welded a giant cross... on a live gas pipeline. The emergency department warned against messing with the gas. The cross was removed.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195892

COVID stats

Whopping +4135 tested (many teachers).+257 infected. +128 healed. +3 deaths. 247,839 tested.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195865

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027823.html

COVID vs tourism

An expert says Armenia lost $700m from tourism drop during the pandemic. That's ~800,000 tourists who could have spent ~$800 each.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027889.html

Pashinyan about COVID tickets

"The $20 tickets won't be refunded. The collected funds will be used towards healthcare and subsidies," said the PM.

The opposition is against penalizing those who violate the mask requirement and they want the past tickets refunded.

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/285199/

Pashinyan about COVID handling

"We've been 100% transparent during the pandemic. Our strategy was 100% correct. Certain shortcomings always happen," said PM.

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/285204/

Take the photo of your ID...

... and show it to a police officer during a COVID-check, said Justice Minister. "That way they won't take you to the police station for identification if you forget your ID."

That's actually a GENIUS move! 🤔 A new technology?? https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/195910

Laureates of Hrant Dink Prize

Istanbul's Armenian Agos newspaper writer Hrant Dink would be 66yo on September 15th. He was gunned down for his views and ethnicity in 2007.

Every year Agos gives a prize named after Dink to prominent figures. This year's first winner is Osman Kavala, an activist friendly with Kurds and Armenians, who was arrested with propped up "coup" charges by the Erdogan regime, after being charged with organizing "riots" earlier. Europe has urged Erdogan to release him.

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The second laureate is female rights activist Egyptian Mozn Hasan.

--

Popular singer Arto Tunjboyajyan performed for the audience during the online ceremony, joined by Dink's widow who sang the late journalist's favorite song "Yes byulbyul em".

https://youtu.be/_LqdZlV5ATg

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195858

the cattle cave to become a tourist spot

A local businessman from Alaverdi, Lori launched a cave-restaurant (not cafe-restaurant... stupid aurocorrect) called "Mendz Er" last month.

The cave used to be a barn full of crap. He began cleaning it up in 2000. Initially, he wanted to turn it into a craftsmanship center but later decided to mix arts with a restaurant.

The cave will soon have a gallery and already has art pieces dating back to the 9th century.

Photos: https://armtimes.com/hy/article/194619

grandmaster Lyovik Aronyan

... is playing in Sent Louis Rapid & Blitz chess tournament.

He defeated the Iranian opponent while playing with blacks, defeated Russian Grischuk with whites, then tied another Russian with blacks.

So far he leads the tournament with 5 points.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195875

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You've read 2307 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/iu1dcm/sep162020_news_education_reforms_minister/

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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