2021 January 21

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Daily news wrap-up

Jan/21/2021 wrap-up: (1) Vaccine deal reached (2) Oligarch Rubo's torture case (3) Court overturns Kocharyan decree (4) Snap elections (5) Prosthetics program (6) Fewer holidays? (7) Rumors & rebuttals (8) Armenian science programs (9) War vs forest (10) Military practice (11) Foreign affairs (12)..
by ar_david_hh


Your 11-minute Thursday report in 2586 words.

former oligarch Nemets Rubo's felony case

Former HHK MP and Soccer Federation chief Ruben Hayrapetyan (Nemets Rubo) was recently charged with kidnapping and torturing a man. The investigators have concluded the investigation and published the following:

The victim worked as a manager at Rubo's Harsnaqar restaurant. He took out a ֏57 million loan from Rubo's bank to help the restaurant but decided to steal ֏20 million to create his own taxi business.

Rubo, his son, and his son's friends learned about the theft and held the victim captive beginning Jul-26-2016 in one of the cottage buildings in the restaurant. They took away his phone and routinely beat him until Aug-18.

The victim was transported to another location, where Rubo beat him and demanded ֏57 million in payment, despite the fact that some of that loan was spent towards Rubo's restaurant.

The victim was brought back to the restaurant, where Rubo tortured him with electroshock. To prevent him from escaping, the group set up patrol outside the facility.

The victim was then given a phone and instructed to call his family members to schedule a meeting at the restaurant. Rubo demanded ֏57 million from his family members.

The family scrambled ֏25,000 in cash, ֏70,000 ring, ֏440,000 in jewelry, ֏1.4 million worth vehicle, another vehicle worth ֏952,000, (full list in article)

The victim was also forced to sell his taxi vehicles and to take out loans, before bringing him back to the restaurant facility as a captive. Rubo forced the victim's grandmother to give a house that was built illegally, which Rubo subsequently "legalized" under his name.

The group tortured the victim again in October and demanded his family to vacate a house where they were living. The group demanded more money and threatened to send the victim's sister to Qatar for prostitution unless the demands are met.

Rubo, his son, and the son's friends are charged with 13 counts of felony. Rubo is wanted by the police. (Rubo is residing in Russia. Russia earlier dropped the extradition case after a strange revelation that Rubo was a Russian citizen.)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040913.html , https://factor.am/330373.html

case solved: ex-NSS chief Kutoyan committed suicide

Former NSS chief Georgi Kutoyan had a rage incident and shot up his apartment a while ago. Later he moved to a family apartment where he shot himself in January 2020. The investigative committee questioned >90 people, including relatives who spoke about his personal struggles, conducted 10 forensic exams, and concluded that it was suicide. No evidence was found that someone drove him to suicide. The case remains open in case more information becomes available.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040950.html , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179105 , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/178414 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/178352

court overturns Kocharyan's decree about Jhangiryan

Former October 27th investigator and military prosecutor Gagik Jhangiryan believes he was fired by President Robert Kocharyan in 2008 on political grounds. He participated in opposition presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrosyan's meeting before the firing.

Today the court sided with Jhangiryan and found Kocharyan's decision to fire and reduce his rank as illegal. The lawsuit was filed in 2019.

In 2019 he was also acquitted of allegedly assaulting a policeman during the "March 1st" days.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/204862 , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175229 , www.1lurer.am/hy/2021/01/21/Դատարանը-բավարարել-է-Գագիկ-Ջհանգիրյանի-հայցն/399192

opposition vs government: elections or no elections?

Opposition BHK party appears to remain opposed to holding snap elections unless Vazgen Manukyan becomes the Prime Minister and rules for a year. The BHK MP Melkumyan also brought a scenario in which Pashinyan resigns, no one gets elected as Prime Minister, the parliament is dismissed, and new elections are held.

However, shortly afterward, the BHK MP seemingly contradicted that idea by suggesting for the election of an opposition candidate as PM: "After the resignation of the Prime Minister, the parliament should have the opportunity to elect a new Prime Minister (Vazgen Manukyan), who will settle the situation in the country for some time, and then the elections will be held."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040930.html , https://factor.am/330286.html

Ruling QP MP Grigoryan appears to support the idea of Pashinyan resigning, none being elected, Parliament being dismissed, new elections being held. He said, "In order for the issue to be resolved, we need snap elections. The signing of the memorandum between parties (that no party will nominate a PM candidate) should be proof of understanding. The Parliament should not have a new nominee for Prime Minister to allow the government to be formed as a result of people's vote."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040933.html

Non-former-regime opposition LHK offered a "counter-memorandum". Its leader Edmon Marukyan wants the Parliament to elect him as Prime Minister so he can form a new unity government, after which he resigns by October 1st to hold new elections. Marukyan says Pashinyan rejected this idea. Pashinyan wants snap elections ASAP, without the opposition forming a government first.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040948.html

high-quality prosthetics for disabled soldiers / expert commission

The government approved a plan to reform the program that issues prosthetics to wounded soldiers. They will receive higher-quality tech which is more modern and supports higher mobility.

Pashinyan: We must also provide proper vocational training and education to our compatriots with disabilities. Our policy is not one of coping but of overcoming.

High Tech Minister: there are private companies in the IT field with free retraining programs for recovering soldiers. Our Ministry will soon create similar programs.

The recipient will receive a certificate and choose the type of prosthetics they want. Labor Ministry's preliminary data found 115 soldiers who lost a limb and need prosthetics.

A new expert group will be formed consisting of an orthopedist, physiotherapist, prosthetist, and psychologist. They will travel to recipients' homes to assess their needs, form a plan of action, help register to receive the care.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040937.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040956.html , https://youtu.be/oovOk80xMPQ?t=344

New Year holidays could become shorter to boost economy

The government is discussing a bill that could make December 31st, January 3-5, and 7th a working day. The holidays would be January 1-2 (New Year) and 6th (Christmas).

The Economy Ministry believes the GDP would increase by ֏88 billion, and the gross output by ֏123 billion. It could also help with the "implementation of various services with the outside world."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040962.html

trespassing loopholes to be closed

The government approved a draft bill to authorize police to remove illegal trespassers who, under current rules, can use "loopholes" to commit illegal invasion of property and drag the case through courts for years.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040944.html

rumors & rebuttals: new Healthcare Minister Anahit Avanesyan

... was asked to comment whether she owns shares in a private medical company "ArmFarmatsa". She denied, saying that her mother owns a small number of shares and that "there is no conflict of interest in regards to her job. ArmFarmatsa company has been around since 1997 and its contracts have been examined."

She also denied rumors about her husband doing business with the former Minister Torosyan. She also said her husband has the right to practice whatever religion he wishes, in response to questions about the husband being a member of some non-traditional religion.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040945.html , https://factor.am/330331.html

rumors & rebuttals: red line parking fees won't increase

... said the Yerevan municipality in response to rumors. Red lines are the parking areas with special protections and enforcement rules. They continue to cost 20 cents an hour, or $23 per year.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040973.html

First Lady Jill Biden did not wear Armenian brand during inauguration

"Markarian" brand founder Alexandria O'Neil prepared the dress for her. It's not an Armenian brand despite the name.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/204813

inflation stats

Dram devalued over Dollar by 8.5% year-over-year, as of December. It went from 478 to 519. Product prices rose 3.7% in the same period.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040910.html

search operations and casualties

The Healthcare Ministry has so far processed bodies of 3450 soldiers, some of whom are yet to be identified. The daily identification count has doubled to ~30 after the introduction of the second DNA device, said the Minister.

https://factor.am/330311.html

damage to forests during the war

Earlier the govt said some forests in Armenia were burned down due to the Azeri fire. We have more details: 56 hectares in Syunik province and 481 in Tavush. Map in the link:

https://factor.am/330460.html

foreign affairs & meetings

Parliamentary official Andranik K. met the US ambassador Tracey to discuss OSCE Minsk Group negotiations and the need for clarifying Artsakh's legal status for long-term safety.

They discussed legal topics about reforming the Armenian armed forces, as well as educational opportunities for the sergeant staff with the help of the US Embassy.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040986.html

Foreign Minister of Armenia and France discussed humanitarian issues, POWs, cultural monuments that went under Azeri control, and a schedule for the OSCE Minsk Group meeting.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040947.html

Dashnak committee of Europe says they will use all resources to lobby for the speedy return of Armenian POWs and to schedule trips for EU officials to Armenia and Artsakh.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040846.html

BHK MP Zohrabyan raised the topic of POWs during a PACE commission meeting. "A PACE resolution will be discussed soon, regarding humanitarian issues. The rapporteur will visit Armenia and Azerbaijan. We offered them to visit Artsakh as well."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040988.html

Defense Minister Vagharshak and his Russian counterpart Shoygu discussed the topic of POWs.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040998.html

ANCA wants to discuss the following topics with Joe Biden administration:

1) More active involvement in the region.

2) $250 million humanitarian aid for Artsakh and Armenia. Housing and tech education for residents.

3) No arms supplies to Azerbaijan and Turkey.

4) Use of Magnitsky Act to sanction Aliyev and Erdogan regimes for use of terrorists and illegal aggression.

5) No American components in Azeri drones.

6) Release of prisoners.

7) Protection of Armenian monuments.

8) Official recognition of Artsakh.

9) Re-activation of US-AM relations. New partnerships.

https://factor.am/330445.html

Russian sappers find huge numbers of prohibited munitions in Stenapakert

Russian sappers found prohibited weapons dropped by Azerbaijan. The M-85 "Kolokolchik” cluster munitions cannot be used in civilian areas.

https://mediamax.am/en/news/karabakh/41635/ , https://youtu.be/Jz6TdzBGcqs

European Parliament condemns Turkey's destabilizing role in Artsakh

The European Parliament adopted two annual reports-resolutions about security and defense. One of them has a separate point mentioning the Artsakh conflict. It acknowledges the ceasefire reached on November 9th, condemns the attack against civilians and monuments, the use of cluster bombs, and urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to ratify the convention about cluster bombs.

It mentions the need to secure the Armenian population's existence in the region and organize the return of refugees.

It urges investigation of war crimes and to hold criminals accountable.

It condemns Turkey for its destabilizing role and urged it to stay out of this conflict, including weapon supplies to Azerbaijan.

It condemns the recruitment of Syrian jihadists.

It calls for an investigation over the use of phosphorus and cluster bombs.

It urges Europe to support the OSCE Minks Group's efforts to resolve the conflict.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1041023.html , https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2021-0013_EN.html , https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2021-0012_EN.html

military exercises: students to "shoot" and throw "grenades"

Yesterday Education/Sports Ministry announced plans to hold target practice for public employees. Today they announced details for a similar program to include students in 9-12 classes. It's part of the plan to train the general population to better handle weapons.

Shooting, assembly and disassembly of a rifle, grenade throwing, running with an 8KG load, pull-ups, cross country.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040989.html

soccer news

Roman legionnaire Henrikh Mkhitaryan celebrates his 32nd birthday. His career path was Pyunik, Metalurg, Shakhtyor, Borussia-Dortmund, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Roma. Mkhitaryan is the best striker in the Armenian national team. He is also UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador to Armenia. His former teammate Marcos Piselli released a video saying "I miss you, man."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040909.html , https://t.me/FootballFederationofArmenia/954

would you like to study in China for free?

Education Ministry signed an agreement with Chinese universities to send 16 students. Exams to select the students will take place in February. It's funded by China.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040966.html

National Science Laboratory has a new quantum department

Lead researcher Allahverdyan: it was created in the same way as it is done in international centers. It can be a basis for establishing an international quantum center in Armenia. If we don't have science related to modern technologies, we won't be able to develop modern tech in Armenia.

The department should include young staff and actively cooperate with IT specialists in Armenia. We hope that the new department will be a platform to involve diasporan-Armenian scientists. Fortunately, the quantum field is full of diasporan Armenian scientists, and we are in touch with many of them.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040974.html

National Science Laboratory's Astrophysics and Cosmology department

... submitted proposals to NASA about the upcoming lunar program. The department is part of one of the European astronomical programs, which aims to test the fundamental laws of physics with great precision. This can help GPS systems in practice. "A new satellite is being created. Its data will be more precise."

"We also submitted proposals to the American Artemis program, which envisions the return of American astronauts to the Moon. It's about the problems that astronauts should solve after landing. The proposal is being discussed in Huston."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040980.html

update: the expensive medical cyclotron device

Healthcare Ministry purchased a cyclotron device in 2019 to help detect cancer. The proton accelerator creates the isotope liquid necessary for detection. The first patients underwent their diagnostic tests last year.

National Science Laboratory says they will begin to use the cyclotron for scientific purposes, too. They built two rooms. One of them will house the cyclotron, while in the neighboring one they'll have tools to use proton beams to conduct experiments with nuclear physics.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040994.html

Armenian robot Robin nominated for Golden Kitty Award

Robin, produced by Expper Technologies, helps patients in a hospital. It's competing against PS5, iPhone, and other popular tech to win the best tech product of the 2020 award. The voting is open.

https://www.producthunt.com/golden-kitty-awards-2020/hardware

https://factor.am/330615.html

today in history

1921: Civic degrees and classes were abolished in Armenia. One general title was established: citizen of the Republic of Armenia.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040887.html

bonus payments to increase

The Defense Ministry will increase bonuses for medical workers and other risky jobholders who fought the pandemic. "The study of international experience revealed that working in these conditions is considered as high risk and is paid higher than other spheres of public service."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040984.html

COVID stats

+2199 tested. +307 infected. +189 healed. +5 deaths. 7719 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040917.html

passenger traffic in Zvartnots airport, in millions

2016: 2.1

2017: 2.45

2018: 2.69

2019: 3

2020: 0.79

https://hetq.am/hy/article/126534

"Children no longer considered active/main source of coronavirus transmission"

6,600 children contracted the virus. That's 4% of the total. 15% of them were hospitalized.

"There is evidence that children are not the main source of infection, and despite the negative impact of keeping schools closed, some countries continue to keep the schools closed," said doctor Sargsyan while citing UNESCO.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/204815

Armenia struck a deal to obtain AstraZeneca vaccine

The British AstraZeneca vaccine will be imported in March, says the Healthcare Ministry after signing an agreement with the "COVAX FACILITY" initiative. It'll be enough for 3% of the population, for now.

"It's more affordable and will arrive sooner. The first batch will be distributed to seniors, workers in elderly care facilities, those with chronic illnesses. Vaccination won't be mandatory."

"COVAX FACILITY" initiative continues the negotiations over the Rusian Sputnik V vaccine for Armenia.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040942.html

computers for Artsakh

The Labor Ministry will donate its unused computers and peripherals to Artsakh.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040943.html

in case you missed yesterday news

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/l1jh35/jan202021_news_pashinyan_about_negotiations/

donations to Artsakh & recovering soldiers

www.1000plus.am (recovering soldiers & their families)

www.HimnaDram.org (for Artsakh & Armenia)

www.ArmeniaFund.org (U.S. tax-deductible)

archive of older news

http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Daily_Anti-Corruption_Reports

disclaimer

All the accused are considered innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law, even if they "sound" or "appear" guilty.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/l28m0j/jan212021_wrapup_1_vaccine_deal_reached_2/

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