2020 September 7

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Contents

Daily news and anti-corruption report

Sep/7/2020 news: \\ electric car imports skyrocket \\ inciting genocide = life sentence \\ tourist boulevard on Sevan shores \\ defamation law \\ EU deportations \\ anti-corruption busts \\ անճոռնի գորտը \\ March 1st statue & victims \\ COVID & economy \\ telecom & 5G \\ app: pick your doctor \\ ...
by ar_david_hh


Parliament resumes the sessions after a lengthy break.

155-fold increase in electric vehicles / No VAT import tax

Nature Ministry wants you to drive electric, so they canceled import taxes on electric passenger cars last year.

Now they have a bill to waive taxes on 5-tons electric trucks. It's aimed at eliminating cargo trucks that leave a taste of gasoline in your mouth when they drive nearby. You know you felt it...

Imports of electric cars have gone from 12 in 2018, to 668 in 2H19, to 1863 in 1H20.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026915.html

Armenia prepares to sign a deportee readmission agreement with EU

Parliament gave preliminary approval to sign an immigration agreement with Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria, and Luxemburg. It states that the Armenian govt will aid the process of accepting back illegal immigrants from those countries.

There is already such agreement with France, Estonia, and Czechia.

--

2020 became the first year when the govt agreed to aid the returning deportees with a $125/mo housing subsidy for 6 months.

97% of Armenian migrants don't get refugee status in the EU because the experts conclude they aren't persecuted in Armenia.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026863.html

https://news.am/arm/news/600836.html

A warning before a ticket?

BHK party drafted a bill to issue a warning before giving a ticket to residents who violate COVID safety rules.

https://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/09/07/Նախազգուշացում-իսկ-կրկնվելու-դեպքում-տուգանք․-առաջարկվում-է-փոխել-տուգանելու-մեխանիզմը/394269

Armenia prepares to criminalize incitement of genocide

Parliament gave preliminary approval to proceed with a law that would imprison people between 8 years to life imprisonment if they publicly encourage a genocide.

The severity of punishment depends on whether the perpetrators are a group of officials who used mass-media, or an individual who used lesser tools.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026876.html

Defamation penalties could increase

Parliament gave preliminary approval to a QP bill that could increase the penalty for insult and defamation five-fold, making it $10k and $20k.

The author of the bill says the purpose is to reduce instances of people registering fake online accounts/outlets to spread slander and insults. It'll be discussed with other parties before a vote.

--

The union of journalists criticized the bill and said the excessively-high penalties could violate free speech by forcing to shut down media outlets.

The government also found the proposed penalties too harsh and suggested a $4k and $6k penalty instead.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026904.html

https://factor.am/281693.html

Fake food production could become a crime

QP party drafted a bill to prohibit the production of "fake" food. There is already a law against dangerous fake alcohol, but the food is currently "unprotected".

Producers could face between a $415 fine to 5 years in prison (if someone dies).

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026901.html

10km tourist promenade across Lake Sevan shores / Who owns the lands?

On April we learned that the govt is working on a new 10km pedestrian boulevard across the shores of Lake Sevan, to attract tourists. Pashinyan created a group tasked with examining suitable lands and legal issues.

Hetq media outlet has also examined the high-profile owners of the lands near the area of the proposed promenade. Some of the buildings are illegal because they were built too close to the lake.

Nature Ministry sent noticed to thousands of property owners and urged them to remove their properties.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/121171

ex-Deputy Minister is arrested on corruption charges

The report says: // HHK Vahan Poghosyan served as Tuberculosis Center director and was earlier charged for a 2019 embezzlement, and released on $10k bail.

Later, more corruption was found during his 2015-2016 activities. A decision was made to arrest him.

--

Being the chief coordinator of the anti-tuberculosis and HIV fight in Armenia, including the manager of the aid received by the U.S., he colluded with other officials to embezzle $163,000.

He also registered fake employees and stole their salaries, and appropriated state property.

12 people are charged in a felony case. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026947.html

2018 Constitutional Court (CC) hijacking trial

Context: HHK hijacked CC in 2018. They convinced CC's chief judge to resign by giving him a new job. With the CC chief's position being vacant, HHK decided to appoint their fellow MP Hrayr Tovmasyan as a judge.

The problem was, the new Constitution was supposed to activate soon and HHK wouldn't have enough time to appoint and approve.

To make it work, two HHK officials allegedly falsified documents and dates to fit the deadlines. The two officials are Ara Babloyan and Arsen Babayan. They were charged with a felony in 2019.

--

Today was their trial. The court deliberated on the level of personal movement restrictions on defendants.

The prosecutors agreed to allow Ara Babloyan to travel abroad, citing his good behavior and his new job.

As for Arsen Babayan, prosecutors wanted the restrictions to remain in place, but the court struck them down.

--

P.S. Arsen Babayan is the HHK official who recently joined ex-NSS chief Arthur Vanetsyan to form the Hayreniq Party.

https://factor.am/281631.html

https://factor.am/281668.html

Corruption bust / Yerevan's Green department

The report says: officials working at the capital's Green department were busted with negligently allowing, and in some instances purposely aiding, a $23k embezzlement involving a company that was hired to work for the city a few months ago.

A felony case is launched. https://factor.am/281656.html

անճոռնի գորտը

Residents of Gyumri raised the alarm after discovering a construction in a historic-cultural building. Someone decided to build a tasteless 2nd floor on top of the historic building.

The municipality says the construction was unauthorized and suspended it. They summoned the builder for questioning.

The owner of the building claims it's not illegal because the law allows "light construction", and that they need to build the extra floor "to have a roof".

Photos: https://factor.am/281581.html

March 1st, 2008 victims & their lawyers won't attend court trials

March 1st victims: Now that the preliminary stage is over and the court has entered a lengthy beurocratic process, during which the judge chooses to only exercise powers against victims and not Robik and Co-defendants, we see no purpose to attend these sessions that are accompanied with human rights violations.

(Prosecutors will continue their case against Robik & Co)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026888.html

March 1st memorial statue is being crafted

At the request of Yerevan municipality, sculptor Albert Vardanyan from Gyumri has been working on a bronze monument to commemorate the victims of the 2008 murders.

The initial model is made out of clay which will be further treated before being sent to a Yekaterinburg foundry for metal coating.

The location of the new monument will be decided soon. Its proposed location and design received some criticism.

Video: https://youtu.be/G1mUbWszrts

Video: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026894.html

Amulsar miner accuses LHK of helping hooligans

Lydian gold miner released footage showing how presumably environmental activists threw rocks at their cars and properties during the night. They claim LHK MPs met the activists earlier that day, which was followed by the attack.

https://news.am/arm/news/600873.html

COVID vs economy

Fewer sales receipts were printed in August YoY, while the trade turnover -12%.

For the January-August period, the trade turnover -10%.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/195200

Largest-ever COVID-compliance audit in Yerevan

Inspectors sent 24 groups across the capital to check businesses for safety compliance. 7% of businesses failed the test and were temporarily shut down. That's down from a typical 60% fail-rate that occurred at the beginning of the pandemic.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026877.html

Ukraine upgrades Armenia's COVID-safety score

Due to the falling infection rates, Ukraine placed Armenia in the "green" zone. Those who visit Ukraine will no longer have to quarantine themselves as long as they spent the past 2 weeks exclusively in Armenia or other similar "green" countries.

Visitors still need a COVID health insurance.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026878.html

364 people were flown to Russia with special flights

They join the list of 8,000 people who managed to travel from Armenia to Russia during the pandemic.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026887.html

the British Science Association

... will be led by Lord Ara Darzi this year. Darzi, a professor at Denham, is the son of Armenian genocide survivors who fled to Iraq. His medical department is specialized in robotic surgeries.

https://www.britishscienceassociation.org/news/professor-ara-darzi-announced-as-incoming-president-of-the-british-science-association

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284838/

Armenian fortress is revealed after Van lake levels drop

Old Archesh (Turkish "Chelebibag") fortress was built during the Van kingdom. It went underwater in the 1800s due to the rise of lake levels. A recent drought caused the lake to drop by 2 meters and exposed the fortress again.

A Turkish archaeologist wants to renovate it and turn it into a tourist site.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284863/

Armenia ratifies Lanzarote Convention

Armenia becomes the 47th state to approve the Lanzarote convention aimed at protecting children from sexual exploitation and abuse. It'll go into effect on June 1, 2021.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026931.html

Forbes writes about Gucci's Armenian model

"Who Is Armine Harutyunyan And How Did She Become A Victim of Body-Shaming In Italy?"

https://www.forbes.com/sites/rebeccahughes/2020/09/05/who-is-armine-harutyunyan-and-how-did-she-become-a-victim-of-body-shaming-in-italy/

Middle Eastern Armenians Add Some “Nefes” to Yerevan’s Culture

A documentary about the diasporans' restaurants in Yerevan.

https://youtu.be/7aDJpy_nsfc

Border villages in Tavush

Pashinyan visited Chinari village where he thanked the residents of Tavush province for bringing victories during July battles by "standing firmly behind our soldiers."

12 Chinari houses have been renovated after sustaining Azeri fire in July.

The PM reminded residents about a new law that doubled the monthly aid to $105/mo for working mothers in villages, and introduced a $55/mo aid for unemployed mothers.

Another border city Berd will have a newly renovated Handicraftsman College soon.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026938.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026933.html

Corruption bust / ex-soccer chief Nemets Rubo's company

The report says: between 2013-2019, the director of HFF's Technical Center department colluded with HFF chief HHK MP Nemets Rubo's "Noralusin" company to embezzle funds.

The officials claimed they cooperated with Rubo's company to send kids to its summer camp. No camping services were provided but the company charged $205,000.

A felony case is launched against the directors of HFF Technical Center and Rubo's Noralusin company.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026902.html

Telecom industry news / 5G / 4G+

UCOM ISP doesn't have plans to implement 5G any time soon. They don't see a need or a clear advantage for the consumers, yet.

UCOM criticized the new startup ISP "TEAMS" for poaching 400 of its employees, 90% of whom were highly skilled techies and managers. (it happened after UCOM founder left the company over a dispute and others followed him)

--

Beeline ISP has modernized dozens of towers in Yerevan to boost 4G speeds from ~150 to 450mbps.

http://arka.am/en/news/technology/ucom_is_not_considering_yet_introduction_of_5g_technology_/

New rules to catch fish in Lake Sevan

Nature Ministry is tweaking the restrictions on Sevan fishing, which are meant to protect baby fish and general population count.

Fishing will be allowed in the Small Sevan section, too. That adds an additional 8 locations to the current 17.

The smallest fish can weigh 400g instead of 500g.

The overall limit was raised to 300 tons.

Fishers are given 2 more weeks to obtain a seasonal permit. Dozens of lake rangers will monitor fishers for compliance.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026899.html

PostEuropa stamp competition

Armenia has entered the "Ancient Postal Routes" European competition for the best postal stamp. It presents a stamp depicting Old Gyumri which used to be Armenia's number-one political and cultural hub in the 1⁹th century.

You can vote for your favorite by Wednesday here: https://www.posteurop.org/europa2020

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026885.html

Byurakan International Summer School

The observatory is hosting online classes this week about astronomy and data science. There will be lectures and demonstrations.

The first school session was organized by Viktor Hambardzumyan in 1987. In 2006 the observatory resumed the practices and holds it every two years.

https://www.bao.am//meetings/meetings/SS2020/index.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026898.html

New website lets you find the right doctor

Healthcare Ministry launched a new free tool that allows you to browse all the available doctors in your area, read their biographies, read reviews left by other patients, learn the strengths and weaknesses, and schedule an appointment online.

There are also Android and iOS apps. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/195207

In case you missed the Sunday report

You can skip the Kardashian part, per popular demand ;)

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/insv2e/sep62020_news_gyumri_day_new_transport_parks/

--

You've read 1948 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/iod3a6/sep72020_news_electric_car_imports_skyrocket/

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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