2019 October 8
Anti-Corruption & News Summary from Armenia - Oct/8/2019 :: Army updates weapons & tactics :: Yerevan's metro, transport & garbage :: Lot's of tech :: IEEE's office :: Court verdicts :: Foreign investment index :: Ejmiatsin & Meghri :: Cadastree employees, city officials, policeman - busted :: IRS
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.
The 4 activists who accused Hayeli media outlet of publishing a pro-Azerbaijan article before throwing eggs at the office walls, have been told to stay in the country. There is a felony investigation.
Court denied another Manvel "Tushonka" Grigoryan petition to be freed. He claims to be sick.
The court has ruled that Kocharyan administration's "handler" and March 1st suspect Armen Gevorgyan cannot leave the country. Yesterday he petitioned to go to Austria for medical and business trips.
Kocharyan was transported to a hospital several times in recent weeks. He'll undergo some kind of a surgery in Izmirylan hospital.
I used to be OK with the public knowing everything I do. The idea of private life wasn't something I comprehended until I had kids. That's when I begun to balance my life. I continue to be open, it's my brand. I don't sweat over the number of likes on social media. (press doubt).
I came up with an idea of creating a perfume product that'll have the smell of Armenian flowers.
I'm happy that my sis Courtney also came. It's her first visit to ARmenia. We baptized the kids and took photos. The WCIT2019 was a "good excuse" to come to Armenia. I'm excited.
I'm currently in talks with several Armenian businesses. We're exploring ideas of producing underwear (lingerie) in Armenia.
An attendee: KIM I LOVE YOU!
Kim: Thank you.
Photo and video https://armenpress.am/arm/news/990850.html
Full video of Day-3 at WCIT https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=r6oMkZn6aAE
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ձենով Ohanian had some nice things to say about the WCIT and Armenia. He wants to improve his Armenian language skills after his book was translated to Armenian. He likes the tech and chess atmosphere in Armenia.
SOAD Serj Tankian and Alexis Ohanian gave a press conference.
Ohanian and Tankian are working on a new digital platform for Armenians around the world. It'll be called Highconnect.
Alexis Ohanian presentation
GIPHY founder about the company...
Serj Tankian presented his "kavat" (գավաթ) coffee brand which was launched last year in US. It's grandma-style, will be sold everywhere.
Kardashian about business in Armenia and her genocide recognition effort:
Kim Kardashian went to Tsitsernakaberd genocide memorial
Kim Kardashian went to meet president Sarkissian at 26 Baghramyan, Yerevan.
Selfies: Alexis Ohanyan, 1st lady Anahit and Belize 1st lady Kim.
Pics from WCIT utush-khmush
Pashinyan met Russian tech giant Yandex boss Arkadiy Volozh. The latter spoke about ongoing driver-less car tests they do in Moscow and Tatarstan province, and the future of taxi services. This year the company will raise the autonomy level and remove the human from the car. Humans are currently needed to stop the vehicle in case the AI does something stupid.
They spoke about widening tech investments in Armenia.
Pashinyan held a meeting with the big boss of Russian railway systems, discussed future cooperation, investments in Armenia. They discussed trade routes connecting Armenia to Russia through Black Sea.
(Armenia-based subsidiary of this railway giant was last year accused of evading $60mln taxes and investing less than required per-agreement. The company recently said they're thinking about ending the contract in Armenia because their docs are confiscated since last year.)
International tech institute IEEE will open a computer department branch office in Armenia.
"The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers is the world's largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity." It has 450k members and holds 1600 conferences annually.
"Armenia has many talented techies. We hope to cooperate", said IEEE computers branch president Cecilia Metra.
Minister of High Tech Arshakyan referred to the new office as the biggest event for Armenian tech industry.
Synopsys-Armenia president Yervand Zoryan interview transcript:
1st deputy PM Avinyan noted that Armenia is becoming associated with silicon valley in the eye of the international community. Tech sector has been growing 28% YoY in the past several years. A startup culture has been established and it's developing.
Prosecutors have a felony case against employees of Cadastre land assessment committee for allegedly falsifying records in 2017 to give away a piece of land to a company for 58mln less than the market value.
Prosecutors have a felony case against Spitak city officials and garbage handling firm admins for embezzling 6.9mln between 2018-2019.
Police sting operation busted a police officer with buying drugs.
Valeriy Osipyan didn't last as Pashinyan adviser. He was earlier fired from the police chief's position for unsatisfactory performance, then appointed as Pashinyan adviser. He is no longer an adviser.
Holy city of Ejmiatsin marked its 2,704th anniversary. Festivities were held, PM visited.
Tash Tush on the streets
Ejmiatsin has a new smart bus stop with WiFi, charging station, electronic maps and info on how to get to places, bus arrival time, coffee and sweets vending machines, security cameras, etc.
Meghri city will have a gas network by the end of 2019. Pashinyan and a Parliamentarian group tasked with economic affairs held a discussion earlier. Measurement works have begun to lay out the groundwork for installation.
The former regime members rigged land auctions and appropriated lands near Meghri upon finding out that it would become a free trade zone. Felony case was launched after the revolution. Meghri mayor says the case is in the court. Auction riggers are charged with felony.
Ministry of Territorial Management and Meghri city are taking 32 hectare land back. Additional nearby 70 hectare will be given to the free trade zone to operate.
Another group of US Congress members visited Artsakh. They came to Armenia yesterday at the invitation of Speaker Mirzoyan.
US delegates met Bako Sahakyan and Armenian MPs, spoke about Artsakh conflict, US humanitarian missions, Genocide recognition.
Continuation: BHK boss Gagik Tsarukyan's business empire, casinos, media outlets, etc.
Tax-daddy says you have successfully convinced businesses to print 85.5 million more sales receipts, which allows IRS to detect if businesses evade taxes. The numbers are for Jan-Aug of 2019vs2018. Fiscal revenue rose 21%.
To attract more direct foreign investments, Armenia needs to present itself in various international "indexing" institutes to allow the investors understand what's going on in Armenia. Armenia has long been a member of "Doing business" index, but it doesn't give a full picture about the investment atmosphere and the laws.
Armenia has just been presented in the OECD index, which tells the potential investor about the laws in Armenia and how they can affect foreign businesses. Two dozen large countries are in this index. Armenia managed to be in top-10. Armenia is ahead of Russia, Turkey and Kazakhstan. (no mentioning of Moldova)
Yerevan municipality has approved a resolution to name a central park, located between Mashtotc and Saryan Streets, after the first female foreign consul Diana Abgar. Today is her 160th birthday. The park will honor female political figures and intellectuals.
Diana was the council to Japan. The 1909 massacres of Armenians in Adana inspired her to become politically active. She helped to prove the massacres were organized by the Turkish government.
After the 1915 genocide she helped 1,500 Armenians escape to United States by paying for their travel and stay. (De jure Armenian Christopher Columbus). She used her ties with foreign govts to help the Armenian refugees.
The city will place her statue in the park.
Yerevan TV tower lighting system was in poor shape. The city gave it to a private firm with an agreement that it'll keep the system renovated.
Yerevan municipality has hired 150 sanitation workers and will hire 206 cleaners soon. Extra workers are needed until the city purchases vacuum cleaner trucks. It plans to sweep the streets with machines. Its sanitation department will have 853 employees.
We stand behind the decision to terminate the Sanitek contract. Examinations were carried out to make sure it's legal. If Sanitek takes us to an international court, we'll be ready.
Some of Sanitek's broken garbage bins are still on the streets. They became trash, but the city isn't throwing them in a landfill. These bins are moved to a special guarded area. Sanitek can go and collect them whenever they wish.
We don't know yet if we'll hire a private firm to replace Sanitek. The main goal is to keep the city clean at the lowest cost. The city is spending the same 5.2bln that it was paying to Sanitek.
Yerevan municipality has purchased 9,000 garbage bins. 4000 have already been replaced. 34 garbage trucks operate. It'll become 54 soon. "This is just the beginning", said mayor Marutyan. "We already see significant results. Thank you for your patience."
Yerevan municipality is negotiating with the private transport firms that run mini-marshutkas. 400 units will soon reach 15 years of age and become legally unusable. If the owners don't update the fleet, the city will ask the govt to help the city with alternatives.
800 bus stops have been audited to understand what kind of work needs to be done.
City is negotiating with govt to make 4bln investments in Metro. Two extra wagons will be attached to solve overcrowding issues.
Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces Artak Davtyan:
We have new anti-air equipment that reaches further and higher. We can shoot down smaller objects now (drones?). Some existing weapons were modernized.
Anti-tank systems can penetrate twice further now. Works were carried out to improve the safety of anti-tank personnel on the battlefield.
Reservists were trained to deliver aid to combat fighters on the battlefield.
Pashinyan and the military admins will soon examine the results of last week's military exercises.
About violence in the army:
Non-combat deaths in the military are down by 39% YoY. Non-combat deaths of mandatory conscript soldiers are down 2x. Physical assaults remained the same.
NGOs routinely monitor the military for transparency to make sure they don't hide army deaths. Davtyan says when the military is accused of not disclosing a soldiers' deaths, it is a situation when the soldier dies in a hospital from a non-combat natural illness such as cancer, and the military isn't "sure" whether to publicize such death as a military loss or not.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/df5c6u/anticorruption_news_summary_from_armenia_oct82019/
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