2020 April 22

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Apr/22/2020 -- Daily News Briefing -- The gas wars, Serj's son-in-law wanted, US/UN/EU send aid, Armenian Genocide, Tax code reforms, Nature Ministry and Lake Sevan, Giant cross near Turkish border, Trees or no trees,
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.


HayPost postal service won't be privatized

Pashinyan administration reversed the privatization process started by former admins.

Recently, Parliament passed a relevant bill to stop the privatization.

Today, HayPost was transferred under High Tech Ministry control, which appointed a new director. HayPost was under Trust Management for the past 14 years.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186207

http://arka.am/en/news/business/energaimpex_and_haypost_removed_from_the_list_of_to_be_privatized_government_owned_assets/

Lake Sevan fish reserves will be examined

The Nature Ministry received a $12k gift from Caucasus Nature Fund to purchase a Sound Survellience system that scans and counts fish.

Ministry wants to understand how much fish exists in the lake to adjust its fishing restrictions accordingly.

ATM, Sevan water levels are 3cm above the 2019 mark.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186218

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1013070.html

Lands in Armenia will be mapped and classified with the help of the UN

The map will show where and what type of soil exist.

39 farms will receive 190 pieces of equipment as a gift, and a separate 550mln grant to improve farming safety, from the World Bank.

EU and UN to give $500k more to improve small business in Gegharquniq and Vayots Dzor provinces.

IFAD world agriculture body will give $550k to build 2 large refrigerated storages for farming.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186228

Serj's son-in-law Mikael Minasyan (former Vatican ambassador) is wanted

for money laundering, illegal enrichment, and hiding wealth. Cops asked the court for an arrest warrant. The investigation began on March 23rd.

Minasyan denies wrongdoing. His lawyer said:

the accountant made a typo in 2017 and presented as if Minasyan owned more wealth than he did. When he transferred money to himself, it was incorrectly assumed to be a laundering. Prosecutors are ignoring my attempts to clarify things, they're dragging their feet for a month.

IRS released a statement:

Minasyan was required to disclose the source of his wealth, which exceeded his publicly-known revenues. He failed to explain the origins. He also laundered money. Prosecutors placed an arrest warrant on him on March 23rd, and on the same day, they asked the court to arrest him.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186242

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186262

Reporters Without Borders 2020 media freedom index says Armenia kept its position at 61st

In 2019 Armenia saw a 19-step improvement vs 2018.

The 2020 report says the "media diversity" has improved but the govt hasn't reduced the "polarisation" because TV networks continue to serve as lapdogs for their owners.

Too many [defamation] lawsuits against journalists. NSS's anti-fake-news fight is heavy-handed, and it's concerning because the NGOs weren't consulted before NSS began the actions.

Investigative journalism is flourishing and helps fight corruption.

NOR 1, GEO 60, AM 61, MOLD 91, RU 149, AZ 168, DPKR 180

https://rsf.org/en/ranking

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186202

https://news.am/eng/news/574065.html

A symbolic 105,000 flowers will be placed on the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial on April 24th

to remember the 105th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. It'll be closed for the public.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/280392/

Gas and oil prices are plummeting around the world, yet Russia is hellbent on raising the prices for Armenian consumers

complained IND MP Babajanyan.

"The ally isn't helping the ally. Lavrov admitted that the price hike is an answer to Russian South-Caucasus Railway's felony investigation in Armenia."

"The fact that Russia can use the gas price as a tool against Armenia, was enabled by the former regime's terrible agreement with Russia that gave away Armenia's entire gas infrastructure to Gazprom. It's very hard to reverse it, but we must think about it."

https://factor.am/243090.html

Ukrainian govt doesn't want to anger daddy Turkey

so their Foreign Ministry asked public officials not to use the term "Armenian Genocide". Also because Armenia votes against Ukraine, in favor of Russia, in international meetings.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/280409/

US will provide $25mln more aid to fight COVID

confirms the State Department after ANCA sent a letter to Mike Pompeo.

http://arka.am/en/news/politics/armenia_to_receive_another_25_million_from_the_united_states_for_combating_covid_19/

Azeri oil is selling for $15. A new low since 1999.

This is the 3rd oil-related economic crisis in Azerbaijan. 2018 (small impact), 2015 ($60 oil, Manat devalued twice, people's savings lost).

Aliyev ordered expenditure and budget cuts. His earlier estimation claimed up to $1bln in losses if oil doesn't go up soon. Azeri budget expects oil to be $55.

"Our oil is used by the EU and airplanes. Both are hit by COVID. Even the gas exports are down. This will continue throughout 2020," said Azeri economist.

Azeri outlet says oil giant SOCAR plans to layoff 5,000 workers. SOCAR denied.

https://factor.am/243177.html

Artsakh army shot an Azeri drone yesterday

They released images of the downed ORBITER.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/116287

Yesterday, Foreign Ministers of AM and AZ spoke

about returning to the negotiation table soon, and a temporary suspension of agreed-upon humanitarian activities between the two countries, due to COVID.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186201

No free fuel and fertilizers for farmers

Govt will give expenditure and loan subsidies to farmers, but not fuel, seeds, and fertilizers.

"When we earlier stopped giving fertilizers for free, the overall prices dropped due to increased competition."

"We might subsidize wheat seeds for farmers with arid lands."

Armenia produces 30% of wheat consumed by Armenians.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186229

20 suspects, who are being kept in jail pre-trial, are on hunger strike

said BHK MP Petrosyan. "They're complaining about slow judicial hearings. They want a quick trial."

12 Armavir prison inmates are complaining about not being allowed to receive fruits and candy from family members, while they can buy the same items from prison's canteen store.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186222

Gloria textile factory workers protested

in Vanadzor city yesterday. They want the lockdown to end so they can return to work and feed their families. Some of them were given tickets for violating lockdown.

LHK MP Edmon: Pashinyan told factory workers it's OK to work beginning on April 20th, so people went to work, just to find themselves receive a ticket. Cancel those tickets.

QP MP responds: govt said the textile factories will open only if the intensity of COVID spread is below 1%. Right now it's higher. Moreover, factory owners will need to contact the Economy Ministry and sign an agreement that they'll follow safety measures before they can resume operations.

QP MP: the factory workers were standing so close during the meeting, I'm afraid we're going to have another COVID hotspot.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186224

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186250

https://factor.am/243171.html

Tax penalties are being relaxed at the request of BHK

with the help of IRS. The penalty for not paying certain taxes will reduce 2x.

Right now, if the business owes 500k, the IRS can freeze their assets. The 500k threshold will be increased to 1.5mln. That was the second proposition.

QP argued it could encourage businesses to avoid paying taxes. BHK citied data, claiming it won't.

Parliament voted 109-0 to approve the draft BHK bill. It needs a second vote.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186234

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186255

https://factor.am/243058.html

Vegetable and fruit production should be boosted

to fill EAEU's 10mln ton demand, says Economy Ministry.

Govt provided 13,000 favorable loans worth 4bln to farmers so far, as part of COVID aid.

EAEU will produce 46 million tons of excess wheat. No shortage of wheat is expected in Armenia.

https://factor.am/243087.html

Coronawalrus is keeping 750 people under quarantine in Tsakhkadzor hotel-motels

(see what I did there with հոթել-մոթել?)

Others are held in Yerevan, Gyumri, etc. "400 of the quarantined people ended up testing positive. Can you imagine how much worse the COVID spread would have been, had we not identified them sooner," said Healthcare Minister.

1473 infected (+74).

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186266

Singer Lilith Hovhannisyan was stuck in Brazil because of COVID

after participating in Dream World Tour concerts.

She managed to return a few days ago. Now she is stuck in 14-day quarantine in Tsakhkadzor.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1013019.html

Singer Serj Tankian is asking his Instagram followers to donate

$200 so rural Armenian kids can get PCs for remote education.

Some 21,000 school children, or ~15%, can't access to online classes from lack of internet or digital device.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_RnSGfBWC5/

So far, 30bln in aid given to COVID-stricken

10k businesses and 638k families, said Pashinyan.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186260

Removing concrete and planting trees instead

That's what Yerevan-run firm is up to in Davtashen. Soil, bushes, and trees are being planted in a small area separating the sidewalk from the street.

In other news, some dumbarse stole 3 newly planted pine trees from Oghakadzev Park. "It's very hard to maintain those trees, so whoever stole it will probably end up killing them."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1013010.html

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/280391/

A 15-meter-tall cross near the border with Turkey

is what one Yeghegut resident wants to install, to commemorate the upcoming 105th Genocide anniversary.

Russian soldiers gave him access to install it, but the IRS asked him to wait, because of an ongoing jurisdiction-related land transfer between two Armenian settlements. "Come again when it's done."

The mayor of the settlement that will manage the land soon, has given a green light. The 20mln Dram worth cross is ready for installation.

SOON YOU WILL HAVE A NEW MEME FORMAT SO YOU WON'T HAVE TO STEAL /r/DANKMEMES

PICS: https://factor.am/243318.html


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/g67v0r/apr222020_daily_news_briefing_the_gas_wars_serjs/


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