2020 April 20

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Apr/20/2020: Daily News Digest -- Student loan subsidies // New giant park idea // Pashinyan blasts "haters", pro-Western, and pro-Russian factions // Dilijan mayor charged // Nature Ministry officials busted // UCOM co-founder to launch new ISP // COVID status // many more stories...
by ar_david_hh

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.


student loan & tuition subsidies

Govt created the 14th COVID aid package.

Students with "A" grades, who study in govt-run universities, will receive a tuition subsidy.

Final-grade students will get a 100% subsidy. Non-final ones 75%.

If the student paid cash, it will be refunded to whoever paid it. If the student used a loan, the subsidy will be applied towards the loan.

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Students with "B" grades or higher will have their 2020 loans' interest rates annulled.

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Students with lower than "B" grades will see their loan interest rates reduced to 4%.

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As of right now, only 30% of students at Yerevan State University and State University of Economics have been able to pay their tuition.

In contrast, 70% of Medical University students paid it because "there are many foreign students who had the money."

https://factor.am/242175.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186071

Pashinyan's livestream leaks / Лопух не догадался?

PM gave a LIVE speech about COVID to H1 public TV on Friday. He asked H1 to allow private [Robik] networks to tap-in and Livestream as well.

H1 ended up enabling the Livestream 15 minutes before he went on air, thus giving every network access to PM's "private" time while he was preparing for the speech.

One of the networks leaked the footage. "We need H1 to explain how PM's prep-time was leaked. H1 handled it unprofessionally," said PM office.

H1 released a statement saying they're sorry for the kerfuffle but they placed the blame for the social media leak on others. H1 employee claims PM's staff was aware that PM was live. PM's staff blamed H1.

https://armlur.am/282195/ , https://hetq.am/hy/article/45873 , https://yn.am/?p=71437&l=ru , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185982 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185986 , https://factor.am/242186.html

Response to H1 leak

Human Rights Ombudsman: it's not cool to mock an unsuspecting person based on the tape. Don't do it. (WRONG, buddy. Memes is all we ever wanted)

BHK MP Naira: doesn't matter if it was an accident or on purpose, someone should be held responsible for the leak. PM's staff present in the room also failed to do their job.

LHK MP Edmon: unacceptable leak and unacceptable mocking based on the leak. Govt is incapable of protecting its data.

QP MP Makunts: we expect people to be held accountable for the leak. It's a security issue. Parliament will summon H1 board if they don't take action. Blaming this on PM's spokeswoman is unwarranted, it's not her job to press a RECORD button.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186010 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186012 , https://factor.am/242379.html

H1 TV holds a discussion over leaks / Resignations

H1 TV's higher-ups held a meeting.

Executive Director Margarita Grigoryan resigned. "I'm disappointed by the unacceptable leak. Ethics were violated. We were backstabbed. This was an unacceptable media-vandalism during a crucial period for Armenia," said the departing Director.

The supervisor responsible for organizing the Livestream, Vardan Hakobyan, also resigned. His friends believe it's unfair and caused by an unnecessary scandal.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186008 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186054 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186060 , https://news.am/arm/news/573673.html

Pashinyan goes on a Facebook rant / Talks about "haters" / Trashes pro-Western and pro-Russian groups

PM went on Facebook and said:

99% of media outlets and 70% of journalists used to receive cash from the former regime. They don't receive it from us, so they are mad. Now they cautiously take cash from here and there under the table. This is what the revolution is about. No privileges for govt. No violence......

The media is filled with hate towards us. People couldn't curse at govt before 2018 because they knew they could be assassinated. Officials had gangs that would go around and beat people. Street-level thugs would silence others and get privileges in return.....

Businessmen approach and offer me "help". I reject them. They get disappointed. They are used to living in Armenia in which for 30 years they could pay bribes for favors. They can't get those favors anymore, so they get disappointed.....

Other groups that are disappointed by us are pro-Western and pro-Russia factions. The pro-Westerners thought the revolution would sever the ties with Russia; they were wrong. Pro-Russia circles are disappointed because they thought they could prevent our govt from operating, or they could force us to "share power" with pro-Russian circles.

Recently I complained that the anti-corruption process is too slow. Lately, I've noticed a pickup in pace again. That's why the former regime is currently in hysteria...

Some of you complain that we're "too nice" and allow staff hired by the former regime to remain in offices. That has always been our promise. No կադրային ջարդ mass-layoffs. However, we're going to clean the system from "Serj's remnants", those who didn't use the opportunity to change.

Churchmen are also disappointed today because they realize that today the govt does more for people than they do, and they're busy with politics instead of spiritual strengthening of the public.

Some revolution participants are also disappointed because they marched with us and expected us to give them positions. They joined the former regime after not receiving the positions from us.

https://factor.am/242285.html , https://youtu.be/2L1YJ2Wp2nY

, https://factor.am/242283.html , https://factor.am/242278.html , https://factor.am/242298.html , https://factor.am/242592.html , https://factor.am/242607.html , https://factor.am/242614.html , https://www.facebook.com/nikol.pashinyan/videos/1411730292346414/

Dilijan mayor charged with crime / Natural resource theft

Investigators said:

The 2005-current mayor of Dilijan had oversight of city resources. He broke laws, bypassed the municipality council, and in 2013-2016 colluded with his relative to give him illegal permission to steal construction sand from Aghstev river basin.

In 2016-2019 he gave his bro construction vehicles belonging to the city, after forging documents.

A felony case is launched. The mayor is charged with 2 counts.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186031

update: Nature Ministry officials charged with felony

Investigators say:

The chief of water use management committee, the former Nature Minister Aram Harutyunyan, and few others, gave an illegal permit for a hydro-plant to use water.

The former Nature Minister was charged earlier. Now the other officials join him as co-defendants.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186070

president-elect of Artsakh gets congratulations

Arayik Harutyunyan will serve as Artsakh president beginning in May.

He met Pashinyan, Defense Minister, and politicians to receive congrats.

Four US Representatives congratulated Arayik with victory and praised "Artsakh's devotion to staying a democracy in these hard times".

https://factor.am/242060.html

MP's brain tumor story

Anti-Roboserj IND MP Babajanyan was charged with falsifying docs to evade army draft in 2006. He was found guilty and sentenced to 4 years.

He claims he was trying to legally delay the draft by presenting papers from a university abroad, and that prosecutors allegedly ignored it.

He complained that his 4yr punishment was unprecedentedly harsh for his anti-Roboserj journalistic activities.

While in prison, he developed a severe headache. Prison medics did an MRI and later, according to him, described B-Complex.

Shortly afterward another test revealed a "growth" in the brain that was causing blindness and motor issues. MP says the original MRI scan must have detected it, but prison's doctors purposely hid it from him and gave B-Complex, "which can feed and grow existing tumors."

MP finished his prison term and apparently underwent surgery abroad.

--

In 2020, when the MP told this story, he refused to name the doctors who allegedly hid the tumor and gave dangerous meds, but an NGO asked prosecutors to investigate the prison officials nonetheless.

Investigators launched an investigation, but the MP didn't want to revive the decade-old story and press charges. The case was suspended.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185958 , https://hetq.am/hy/article/101248 , https://www.azatutyun.am/a/1792212.html , https://factor.am/224994.html , https://www.azatutyun.am/a/1792212.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185958

bad construction = no money

Govt paid $$$ to renovate Vanadzor central park. A construction firm did a poor job. The job was not approved as "compete".

Govt withheld 30% of the payment and required the firm to fix the issues. The issues are being fixed today. This is the second renovation in 2 years.

Photos: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186026

UCOM cofounder resigns / alternative ISP to be created

Context: UCOM co-founder Yesayan had disagreements with shareholders (HHK MP family). He offered to buy all the shares. He spoke about resigning, then changed his mind.

Co-founder and CEO Yesayan:

We offered $70mln to buy the shares. The company is worth $180mln but it has $110mln loan obligations, so $70mln was a fair offer. Then I learned from media that the board fired me and replaced with Ara Khachatryan. Who is Ara Khachatryan and why hasn't he approached yet?

I'm quitting UCOM today. The team that created UCOM will create a new ISP. We will go back to basics and install cable if necessary.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186030

COVID status

13k tested, 1339 all-time infected, 580 recovered, 22 died.

Infections double every 17 days, down from 10.

"We're doing 1,000 daily tests, an unprecedented number for such a complex task. We will have more expertise and tools in the future," said Healthcare Minister.

No one in Parliament has been confirmed with COVID yet.

Pashinyan took another [negative] test after repeatedly coughing.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185968 , https://factor.am/242008.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186001 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186029 , https://factor.am/242295.html

COVID enforcement status

Police gave 6,706 tickets to residents, drivers and businesses for violating the lockdown restrictions since mid-March.

Citizens made 483 calls to report others for violating lockdown. 26 resulted in tickets.

9k policemen accompanied postal workers to deliver retirement pensions door-to-door.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186035

COVID wife-beating status

Earlier the Human Rights Ombudsman said domestic violence calls have increased after lockdown.

An anti-abuse NGO says they also noticed a 30% rise in reports (803 in March).

HIV patients made 50% more calls.

https://news.am/arm/news/573666.html

COVID aid status

90,000 laid-off workers and 70,000 families with small children have received COVID aid.

12.5bln paid across all the aid packages aimed towards citizens.

486,000 residents received gas and electricity subsidy. "They may not be aware yet because there is no separate notice. It's applied to utility balance."

--

LHK MP Edmon: govt should distribute aid size of 10% of GDP instead of 1%. Many Western countries spend 10-18% of GDP on aid.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186009 , https://factor.am/242373.html , https://news.am/arm/news/573626.html

village life under lockdown

Beekeeper Aida from Margahovit village says not much has changed in daily life after the lockdown.

"Every 10 days we drive to nearby Vanadzor to purchase personal and business items... that's it. I like bees. Beekeeping is hard for a woman because it's labor-intensive," said Aida.

https://youtu.be/QFHYLe4MLZk?t=88

air quality under lockdown

COVID lockdown didn't cause dust to reduce in Hrazdan air. The city has several large factories, including thermal power-plant and a cement factory. The dust exceeded the recommended levels by 2x last month.

Tsakhkadzor resort city's air is clean. It has no factories and has a favorable geographic location. Sulfur Dioxide significantly dropped this year, but no difference before and after COVID lockdown.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/116168

president's grandiose plan to create a park near Tsitsernakaberd

President Sarkissian said:

We need clean air in Yerevan. Let's create "Hay Park". If you look at the area from Tsitsernabakerd to Hrazdan Stadium, you'll see a 103-hectare void space.

Near Tsitsernaakaberd, the 1st section of the new park would have multiple parts, each signifying the Western Armenian provinces. 2nd section will represent diaspora. 3rd section current Armenia.

1.5 million trees overall (see what he did there?). It shouldn't turn into yet another restaurant place.

I spoke about this idea with a European design firm and they even gave me a plan. I sent the plan to Pashinyan and Mayor Marutyan.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186037 , https://youtu.be/Lmr8gQHQMnw

5G towers make you smarter

Magnus Carlsen organizes a chess tournament.

Magnus Carlsen invites his opponents.

Magnus Carlsen wins the tournament.

Magnus Carlsen profits.

https://factor.am/242180.html


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/g4yz2m/apr202020_daily_news_digest_student_loan/


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