2019 December 24
Anti-Corruption & Daily News Summary from Armenia - Dec/24/2019 :: Get your daily briefing about politics, economy, law enforcement busts, and 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.
has thanked the "brave" 67 show business reps from Armenia and Russia who earlier signed a letter asking prosecutors and court to free Kocharyan.
The Kocharyan supporter who got caught on a hidden cam offering a bribe to a March 1st victim was earlier detained. He is charged with "bribing a witness as part of an elaborate scheme by a group of people". He's released and told not to leave the country.
5th Channel owner Armen Tavadyan was later arrested and charged with being part of the same group.
Who is Tavadyan?
He's Kocharyan's media guy who runs the 5th Channel TV network and owns (fully or partially) outlets such as Aysor and Panorama.
He's a controversial figure who earlier got arrested for assaulting an anti-Kocharyan protester Vardges Gaspari with a bottle.
One of his former allies earlier went rogue and exposed how Tavadyan was paying funds to pro-Kocharyan groups to gather young "tough men" (men in black).
The leader of EPH University's Student Council was taken to a police station to give a testimony as a witness about a university backyard fight that ended with shots being fired. He complained about rough treatment by the cops.
Mayor of Metsadzor and fellow officials are busted with forging docs to give land to a certain individual a few months ago, says the police. A felony case is launched.
The court has again refused to free Manvel Tushonka Grigoryan under bail.
SOC auditors found 210mln in improper financial use in Yeghegnadzor.
Since 2016, the city failed to collect some taxes, financial violations while building roads, financial aid was distributed to some city workers illegally, people kept receiving salaries despite being abroad, etc.
BHK chief Dodi Gago's TV network Kentron wasn't welcome in Hotvashat village. The outlet says "60 residents attacked the crew and hindered their work". Human Rights Ombudsman condemned the event.
More teens are starting to smoke hookah, which is more dangerous than cigarettes because hookah is used for a longer duration, and the water filter doesn't filter out many harmful materials. Its various flavors make them attractive.
Hookah use grew a lot in the past few years, most notably in Yerevan, because cafes and restaurants provide it easily.
19% of 17-year olds, and 16% of 15-year olds, have smoked it at least few times. For girls it was 12%. Survey shows many do it routinely.
E-cigarettes are also gaining popularity.
The good news is conventional cigarette use is on the decline among youth.
Last week the Healthcare Minister complained about a video showing how parents ordered hookah for their 14-year-old kids in a Yerevan cafe.
armradioarchive.am is a place where you can listen to 15,000 (soon 25k more) newly digitized copies of Armenian radio pieces that aired since the 1930s. There is an app.
Yerevan Mayor Hayk Marutyan was a director of a firm before becoming a mayor.
The newly created Corruption Prevention Committee is investigating complaints by a media outlet that alleged that Marutyan didn't promptly resign from the director's position before becoming a mayor. Public officials are required to do so to avoid a possible conflict of interest.
Mayor's office then published documents showing that Marutyan resigned from the firm 3 days before becoming a mayor.
The rumors were circulated by the Joghovurd media outlet. Mayor's office is demanding a “retraction of the defamation”.
Yerevan municipality says:
Davtashen district had 68% more asphalt installation than in 2018, almost half of which were new roads that used to be gravel.
Mayor Hayk Marutyan about 2019:
We'll monitor how effective the city's new garbage collecting services are, and decide whether to keep it or to hire a private firm again.
With the garbage issue solved, transport is the biggest issue now. Our goal is to have a city in which people won't need a car and will prefer public transport.
The financial model of the new bus system was approved by the govt. In 2020 we'll begin the works and it’ll be done by 2021-2022. There will be 850 buses and 100 trolleys. Purchasing auctions will happen soon.
We're working on plans to create a 510-unit underground parking lot between Shahumyan square and Vazgen Sargsyan St.
We're stricter when it comes to requiring new apartment complex buildings to be built with an internal garage at the maximum possible capacity.
Yerevan will have its trash recycling factory. We're discussing it with several firms. Besides this, the newly formed city department that is tasked with promoting green areas will be tasked with disposing of dangerous waste.
In 2019 we removed a chain of illegal budkas (ghetto kiosks) on Nar Dos St., 15 from Komitas St. to free the sidewalk, prevented illegal buildings from happening. In Arabkir district we removed >65 budkas.
Earlier we removed illegal cafes near Opera building. The area has soil, irrigation, and vegetation now.
In 2019 we began the pilot program to replace aging elevators in private apartment complexes. 20 this year and >100 in 2020 (total 3,500 needed). We significantly increased the budget for elevator repairs.
12,800 Yerevan parents are using the newly created website to find a kindergarten for their kids. 1600 kids were registered.
We recovered 6500m2 land that were earlier taken away from kindergartens. This has increased the capacity by 1,000.
We’re giving fewer high rise building permits in the Center district. The city should expand, and not just rise taller at the center.
We’re talking with the Austrian Doplemayer firm to build the aerial tramway in Yerevan.
Yerevan has the 2nd tallest Christmas tree in CIS republics. Moscow has the only natural one. Last year Yerevan switched to a brand new 70mln artificial tree with artificial branches to save on annual upkeep fees.
GALLUP International survey
40% of Yerevan residents say transport is the biggest issue now, 24% garbage, 9% green areas, 8% elevators.
82% are satisfied with the city's changes in the past year. 13% dissatisfied.
87% are happy that the city got rid of the Sanitek garbage collector firm.
66% don't think there are corruption risks with the former HHK MP Lfik Samo's 3 garbage truck donations to the city. 17% said there are risks.
GALLUP International Survey: How has the police work changed in the past year?
68% said it changed to positive, 11% remained the same, 14% got worse.
After the revolution, the traffic police became more forgiving towards drivers who violate rules. Do you like this change?
54% yes, 38% no.
We finished 2019 with 89bln ($185mln) more in collected taxes than we had anticipated.
40bln of it was spent to pay back some internal debt. This year we injected 150bln back into the economy in the form of VAT refunds.
Pashinyan's pyramid scheme keeps growing. Earlier he challenged 3 people to donate $20/mo to All-Armenia charity fund, and to each of them to challenge 3 of their friends. The challenge reached an MP who challenged singer Iveta Mukuchyan.
Iteva agreed, and in-turn challenged Armenchik, Super Sako and Garik Papoyan.
Cucumber exports rose 3.5x YoY. Eggplant rose 2x. Apricot yield was 40% lower this year, so exports were also lower. Tomato exports decreased.
A drop in yield is expected in 2020 too because of the unexpected 10C rise in year-end temperature that is happening across Armenia right now. High temps mean less water next season, and the trees might bloom too soon.
EAEU trade bloc plans to sign free trade deals with several non-member countries. For example, Chile could purchase Armenian products with 0% tariff while they charge a tariff on similar items imported from other states. This could boost Armenian exports. Any cooperation with a non-member state would require unanimous approval by EAEU-member states.
Azerbaijani President Aliyev has been burning the bridges with the EU lately. He called EU anti-Muslim for not integrating Turkey. Says Azerbaijan is a Muslim state and will have the same fate if it tries. Lately, Azerbaijan (and Turkey) has been getting cozier with Moscow.
The most popular foreign destinations for New Year’s holidays are Egypt, Georgia, and UAE.
People often spend time abroad because for them it costs the same to stay home, make a table, etc.
Earlier we learned that the internal tourism within Armenia rose almost by half. There's some increase in internal New Year tourism as well, with Tsakhkadzor, Aghveran, and Dilijan being the popular destinations.
Those packages are around 290k ($600) for 6 days. It's all-inclusive and includes transportation.
More inside... https://armtimes.com/hy/article/176888
Inga & Anush Arshakyan are back with a new track
Gor Minasyan wins gold and Ruben Aleksanyan silver, in the weightlifting World Cup held in Qatar.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ef7fa5/anticorruption_daily_news_summary_from_armenia/
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