2019 December 11
Anti-Corruption & News TLDRs - Dec/11/2019 :: Serj's immunity denied :: Education reforms after 15 years _ STEM & Armenology :: NSS vs Hospital bribery :: Mayor busted :: Constitutional Court bill :: Violence :: ARF dissidents :: Ads on TV :: Investments stats :: Tourism :: +more
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.
Serj Sargsyan was earlier charged with embezzling 0.5bln worth fuel in 2013 with the help of his friend who owns the Flash fuel firm.
Serj asked the prosecutors to drop the case, citing his presidential immunity. Prosecutors refused, citing a Cassations Court precedent stating that the immunity is void if a law is broken for a personal benefit.
Yesterday Kocharyan accused the Artsakh 2020 presidential elections front-runner Arayik Harutyunyan (AH) of kissing Pashinyan in the back.
AH said he has never done that to anyone, including the former government (he was a Prime Minister until recently). AH said he had good economic cooperation with the former administration, but he was unhappy the way they were handling the Artsakh negotiations.
"The Armenian govt has adopted a policy that is acceptable for Artsakh people. In reality, there have never been negotiations in recent times because Artsakh never participated in the meetings with Azerbaijan. There can't be negotiations without Artsakh. Artsakh's independence is a prerequisite", said AH.
He predicted that Armenia will have double-digit economic growth in 2021 and that no war will happen as long as the Armenian economy is doing good.
He also verified that soldiers were sent from Artsakh to Yerevan in 2008 February-March.
NSS says they busted a high ranking official at Martuni clinic with taking bribes from low-income patients who were supposed to get the care for free, between 2017-2019.
A felony case is launched.
Police say they busted the mayor of Kornidzor with embezzling 5mln. Between 2016-2018 he allegedly abused mayoral powers to give himself some powers meant for others, used 12 pieces of agricultural equipment belonging to the settlement for personal purposes, stole money after signing garbage collection contracts.
A felony case is launched.
A few weeks ago a decade-old video was released showing police torturing a man to get a confession, with not much luck. One policeman was suspended while another one was identified as a former cop. A felony case was launched.
Today the investigators said they've also identified the victim. He is a felon serving in one of the prisons for unrelated charges. He's been questioned.
Today the Parliament passed the govt bill to allow the Constitutional Court members to retire earlier while still qualifying for high pensions.
If HHK MP Hrayr Tovmasyan and Gang® retire before January 31, they'll receive a pension with the size of their current salary, for as many years as they were allowed to stay in court had they not quit.
LHK opposed the bill because they believe the money that is offered to them could be used for other purposes such as hiring more judges and that controversial CC chief Hrayr Tovmasyan's influence within the Court is "exaggerated".
BHK voted against the bill but for slightly other reasons. They disagree with the idea of dismissing the judges (which this bill does not do). BHK says they don't see legal reasons for the court members to quit. They accuse QP of conducting political pressures on the court.
QP criticized BHK for distorting the purpose of the bill. QP says this bill is one of many necessary prerequisites to eventually solve the court crisis.
Council of Europe told Armenian govt to hurry up with the judicial reforms and to do more about increasing female participation in politics. It noted that positive improvements against the corruption fight and improving equality have been made.
The Istanbul Convention is about reducing domestic violence against women.
A self-proclaimed traditionalist group "Kamq" has been against it. Something about "gays and trannies".
Two women were allegedly harassed by them yesterday. The woman says they were passing near the group when its members asked them to join the protests. When they refused, the men allegedly cussed at them. They cussed back and the men assaulted them.
The police launched an investigation and questioned the suspects. They will conduct a medical evaluation of women.
Labor Minister Zaruhi Batoyan earlier urged the church to sever their close ties with the "extremist group" after they were unable to hold a civilized conversation with the Minister around the Istanbul Convention. A meeting was held during which the group members insulted the Minister. A defamation lawsuit was filed by the minister at the time.
ARF dissidents were recently expelled. They gave an interview to 1inTV during which they said:
ATF has been hijacked by a small group of people led by Hrant Margaryan to act for a narrow circles' agenda. Party has gone off the rails and forgot its purpose, it needs to return to its roots. Party has "gone too far-right recently". Higher-ups ignored party rules and ignored the due process while expelling them. Many diasporan Dashnaks sided with the dissidents. Dissidents remain true to the ARF ideology and want the party to become healthy and competitive again, etc.
Education Ministry wants to reform the curriculum criteria for 12-year school graduates. It defines how much info they should possess upon graduating the school. Last time these criteria were refreshed 15 years ago.
STEM (aided by EU) and Humanities (aided by World Bank) subjects will be reviewed by the Ministry.
The goal is to improve the STEM and Armenology education quality, to reduce the load on students, to introduce a flexible system, with the help of local and international experts.
A group of 15 experts begun working on this since July. In September and October, the plans were discussed with various organizations. Amendments were made.
STEM curriculum, grading, and tutoring methods will change for 1-12 graders. Changes will start as a pilot program in one province beginning September 2020.
Humanities teachers will be retrained, and discussions will be held with book publishers.
70 Armenian and foreign experts from 15 groups are working on this. They examined the US, EU, and Asian education systems. Some parts will be copied and adapted to Armenian conditions.
Education Ministry will continue the program they implemented a year ago that gives students and teachers 3 free tickets annually to visit arts, galleries, theaters.
In 2020 the program will begin with a delay because they are implementing changes in a digital system to handle the tickets.
162,000 visits have been made with these tickets between Nov-2018 and Jun-2019.
The goal of the program is to make it a habit among children to visit these institutes from an early age and to help low-income students who would otherwise be left out.
To get your free ticket visit Dasaran.am and click on E-CULT to join the cult of Chucky.
Update: Labor Ministry launched a new facility in Shengavit, Yerevan that will serve as a unified facility to handle various social services for 15,000 vulnerable residents.
After a 5-year ban, Justice Ministry wants to allow the Public TV to display limited amounts of ads in order to increase TV revenues to allow them to do the necessary technical revamp, and to introduce more interesting shows.
Up to 5-minutes of ads per hour.
Culture and Education programs will continue to be allowed to present a 1-minute sponsor ad.
1-minute of "social advertisement" per hour. It can be done for free or for a fee.
Up until 2015, public TV was allowed to display ads totaling 7% of the air time. Beginning 2015 the TV's revenues were reduced significantly and the govt had to subsidize.
Ministry believes the 2015 ban, which was an experiment of some sort, turned out to be ineffective.
Azeri border guards shot a Georgian shepherd in the head; he is alive. The Azeri media claims the shepherd's dogs attacked the Azeri soldiers who had to open fire.
Investments have increased in 2019.
Foreign direct/portfolio/etc investments were +$270 million in the 1-9 months of 2019.
During the 2018 period, it was a negative -$1 million (capital outflow).
What is country-breakdown? (number in millions of dollars)
Jersey went from +$43 to $0 (Amulsar miner Lydian)
Russia went from +$20 to +$130 (largest investor, largest increase)
Lebanon from +$20 to -$16
Italy from -$1 to +$54
Argentina from -$13 to +$6
Holland from -$18 to +$3
Germany from -$62 to +$86
more in the link...
Total: from -$1 to +$270
Tourism from Russia rose 24% in 2019, reaching 406k so far this year (990k to Georgia). Armenia is the 21st most popular destination for Russian tourists according to RegionMonitor. The most popular destinations for Russians were Turkey, Finland (?), Kazakhstan.
35 million Russians traveled abroad.
The tourism committee has a new guide handbook for tourists titled "Yerevan in Your Pocket" (Honey, I shrunk the Yerevan). It has 200 pages of images and TLDRs about the city and POIs.
Pashinyan while on crack again:
We need to have our national "Jingle Bells" song that will become popular in Armenia and abroad. It's a task. DO IT!
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/e9c8ot/anticorruption_news_tldrs_dec112019_serjs/
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