2019 October 25
Anti-Corruption & News Summary from Armenia - Oct/25/2019 :: Economy, stats, salaries :: Parliament's spending :: Liska's sons :: Vacho's 3bln :: Abortions :: From MP to PM & CC -- laws :: Healthcare, heart, smoking :: Chess & Weightlifting :: 2 mayors busted :: Forest officials :: Welfare & Work
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.
European U20 and U23 weightlifting championship.
2 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze by Karen Avagyan, Ara Aghayan, Lianna Gyurjyan and Rafik Harutyunyan.
Hakob Mkrtchyan also won gold.
Shant Sargsyan won silver in U18 Chess World Championship.
Arthur Davtyan won the bronze in the same competition.
Lori police has busted a van filled with illegally cut trees. Loot is confiscated.
Former Syunik governor Surik "Liska" Khachatryan's both sons were under a felony investigation for allegedly avoiding draft by falsifying medical records.
The elder son is still hiding from the authorities.
The younger son didn't hide. He recently went through a medical examination. The investigators concluded that he had medical issues and didn't dodge the draft. The case is dropped against him. His elder brother is still under an investigation.
7,400 voluntary (no doctor's advice) abortions were done in 2018. Additional 3,200 abortions were done at the recommendation of doctors.
The number of voluntarily aborted babies equals to 15.7% of all babies that were born. Overall, 1-in-5 babies weren't born due to all abortions.
9,200 abortions were done before the 12-week period. 3,800 of it was done in Yerevan.
In 2018 the abortion rate was lower than in 2017, during which 17.3% of children were voluntarily aborted.
Deputy police chief Hovhaness Kocharyan has resigned. He didn't like the idea that future police chiefs and deputy police chiefs could be officials from other agencies.
LHK earlier proposed a law, later supported by QP, which says that all future NSS and police chiefs must go through a similar "vetting" process as Parliament MPs do. The bill states that agency chiefs don't necessarily have to be selected from the agency's board of high ranking members. (concerns of corruption rooted deep into the system)
Later, the law was amended to include deputy-chiefs positions. Deputy chief Kocharyan submitted a resignation after this.
(The aforementioned bill is still being discussed in Parliament.)
Video of how a truck carrying empty garbage bins makes a turn and causes the improperly tied bins to fell on the street.
This incident was allegedly the reason why Center district manager quit, because mayor Marutyan gave him a warning for not issuing a warning to the truck driver.
Ministry of Healthcare will expand the types of heart surgeries that are subsidized by state. Currently the heart stent is subsidized. Soon the aorta-coronary shunt will also be subsidized if it's considered urgent.
The govt approves the anti-smoking bill that prohibits smoking in some public and enclosed areas. It'll be discussed in Parliament soon.
Some restaurants agree with the ban, saying that they already ban smoking in their locations because smoking drives away tourists and families with children.
Other restaurant owners believe they shouldn't be the ones to tell the customer not to smoke in their restaurant, because "the police exists for that purpose".
Serj's former chief bodyguard Vachagan Ghazaryan was arrested last year and charged with illegal enrichment and illegally hiding wealth.
SIS says they've recovered 2.9bln so far.
Sunday will mark the 20th anniversary of October 27, 1999 parliament terror attack, during which Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan, his famous ally Karen Demicrchyan and several others were killed.
Some family members of victims don't believe it was a lone would attack, pointing the finger at Kocharyan and Serj. The murdered politicians were Kocharyan's biggest opponents and had recently formed an alliance.
Family members believe the attackers could have been coordinated. The ringleader Nairi Hunanyan at some point did some job for NSS per NSS documents, which at the time was led by Serj Sargsyan, families noted. They also point out the fact that the deceased PM Vazgen Sargsyan had very bad relations with president Kocharyan, whom Vazgen at some point viewed as a traitor for discussing possible giveaway of part of Armenia's southern Meghri region to Azerbaijan as part of Karabakh talks. Others have pointed out that Kocharyan and Serj were embezzling many factories at the time, and the decreased weren't happy about it.
No hard evidence has been presented that the attacks was organized from outside of the group. The group of gunmen consisted of family members. Nairi Hunanyan was known to Parliament staff for having journalist's credentials. Shortly before the attack, the ringleader Hunanyan publicly expressed discontent with the way the country was being managed and spoke about willingness to kill politicians. High ranking official(s) reportedly knew about these death threats but didn't act on it. Critics say perhaps this inaction was deliberate.
IND MP Babajanyan, who is an outspoken critic of Kocharyan and believes the Oct27 was not a lone wolf attack, has met the ringleader Nairi Hunanyan few days ago in prison. Babajanyan spoke about it during a CivilNet interview.
CivilNet Interview https://youtu.be/FWbKDCjF6IA
Victim Yuri Bakhshyan's widow https://youtu.be/waj_crtNTF0
Deceased Karen Demichyan's son https://youtu.be/XUBbULiWtdU
HHK Speaker Ara Babloyan is suspected of colluding with others to falsify docs in 2018 to rush his fellow HHK MP Hrayr Tovmasyan into Constitutional Court before the old Constitution's expiration.
One of the accusations is that Tovmasyan was still an MP when he entered CC, which was a violation of the law.
After this, Babloyan and HHK allies attempted to draw parallels with the 2018 revolution, accusing Pashinyan of being a fake Prime Minister because "he didn't resign as MP before becoming a PM".
However, when asked for more info, Babloyan backtracked, saying that after consulting with his lawyer he realized that in the case of MPs, the mandate is automatically considered abandoned when the MP becomes a PM.
Later, the photo of Pashinyan's PM nomination was circulated, showing that Pashinyan actually pledged to resign as MP in the event of being elected as PM in 2018. (even though the law didn't require it).
Parliament Speaker Mirzoyan released spending stats on how much the Parliament spent while meeting various delegations.
Per member per meeting:
Vardenis mayor (Aram Melkonyabn, IND) is charged with professional negligence. Be served since Dec-2018.
Police says: He had the duty of preventing illegal construction and illegal exploitation of lands. In Dec-2018 he learned about an illegal cafe construction in Garnik Karapetyan Park, but didn't take steps to stop it.
He is charged with 1 felony and is told not to leave the country.
Former mayor of Artsvaberd is busted with embezzling public funds by falsifying residents' info in 2016-2017, with the intention of deducting aid money under their names but keeping it for himself, says police.
In another instance, the mayor took 1mln from budget to buy garbage bins but embezzled 0.7mln of it.
Another 0.7mln was stolen after he collected money from residents to pay for some farming expenses.
0.5mln embezzled after he wrote it off as a work car engine expense, while the money was spent on his family car.
4 felony charges are pressed.
Ijevan police has busted officials working at govt-run Hayantar forest protection institute. They hired several fake employees between 2013-2017 and embezzled 6.2mln in funds. Felony case is launched.
Pashinyan met Russian PM Medvedev during EAEU meeting.
EAEU is discussing the possibility of canceling cellphone roaming charges across member-states.
President Sarkissian went to Japan, participated in new emperor Naruhito's enthronement, met PM Shinzo Abe, met Mitsubishi reps and invited the latter to visit Armenia for business.
EU ambassador met Armenia delegates and discussed free travel plans between EU and Armenia.
28 countries should approve it. Armenia first needs to make institutional changes.
If visa regime is made open, Armenians can't just go there with a hope to settle and find a long-term work. It's only for traveling for a maximum of 3 months per 6-month period.
EM ambassador is satisfied with the ongoing cooperation and encouraged Armenia to work to make sure the EU states are aware that Armenian public understands the travel terms. They don't think Armenian public currently understands the travel terms.
Armenian delegates have so far visited 10 EU states and held relevant talks.
Translated video: Foreign Minister Mnatsakanyan during HARDtalk show at BBC. A show where the anchor confronts the guests with tough questions. Artsakh was the main topic.
Economic activity rose 7.1% (or 7.5% vs Sept-2018).
The rise of consumer price index was 0.5% in Sep2019 vs Sep2018.
Nominal monthly wages rose 5.9%. (7.9% in public and 4.7% in private sector).
SepVsSep: exports rose 33%. Imports rose 29%.
Jan to Sep 2019: foreign trade rose 5.8%
Jan-Sep 2018vs2019: exports rose 7.9%, imports rose 4.7%.
More details inside...
Ministry of Labor met various organizations and provincial admins, and said they're working on a bill to allow low-income citizens in provinces, who are currently receiving welfare benefits, to continue to receive benefits for the first 6 months, after they find a work.
Ministry believes it'll encourage able-bodied members of families to find work and get settled with earning their own money, without the fear of losing family's income.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/dn2r1z/anticorruption_news_summary_from_armenia/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2020 Daily Armenia Reports|