2020 April 7

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Apr/7/2020 -- Today's News Summarized -- Incarceration drops (=Denmark). Mysterious pneumonia. Pashinyan gets sued. Foreign investment stats. Black market for masks. Real estate transactions. New healed > infected. Artsakh elections. $500mln gas investment. Domestic kits. Pashinyan vs Gago. +++
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.


Kocharyan sues Pashinyan again / plundered money

Former President Robik is suing Prime Minister Nikol again. Last year he unsuccessfully sued for alleged defamation.

This time, Robik wants an apology and 2 million Drams because Nikol allegedly defamed Robik on 3 occasions during a recent political rally.

During the rally, Nikol spoke about how former regime members make trips to Europe and lobby for various Europeans to recognize Robik and others as political prisoners and such.

"Serj, Rob, former IRS chief, former Ministers, you won't hide under the European skirt. Bring back every penny you plundered and invest it in the army now," said Pashinyan at the time.

"I promised that within 5 years we'll spend $2.5bln more on the army. Half of it will come from the recovered plundered money. That money is under the possession of Serj, Robik, others, and their families. Let them return it," said Pashinyan.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184887

Low incarceration / Armenia sees huge drop in inmates

The Council of Europe's annual crime statistics for 2019 has been published.

Justice Minister Badasyan said:

Armenia saw the largest 36% drop in incarceration in any state mentioned by the report. From 3.5k inmates in 2018, to 2.3k in 2019. (Pashinyan's mass amnesty?)

With inmate-per-capita, Armenia matches Denmark, Germany, and Slovenia.

Moreover, Armenia's inmate density is 42.2% while the EU's is 89.5%. Less overcrowding.

The female population was only 3.2%, which is lower than the EU average.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185072

Tag #PrisonPopulation #Prisons

COVID stats / number of new healed surpass infected

Pashinyan said:

20 new infections and 25 new healed. Despite conducting fewer tests, medics believe the trend is lowering for now. We're cautiously optimistic.

Our Healthcare system has adapted and came out of the initial shock period. 2 critically ill patients improved their condition to "serious" (6 remain critical).

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/184994

thousands receive a citation for violating lockdown

7000 people received a ticket for gathering outside, driving crowded vehicles or leaving home without appropriate paperwork.

Police have roadblocks on many roads to inspect vehicles.

People who queued in front of banks were asked to keep a distance.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185054

Artsakh records first COVID

An Artsakh citizen traveled to a COVID-risk Artashat region of Armenia to visit his family. He returned to his Artsakh village and socialized with 17 people.

Meanwhile, his family in Armenia tested positive. He was later rushed to a hospital, where he tested positive with COVID.

17 co-villagers he socialized with were immediately isolated. They don't have symptoms. The govt then decided to place the entire village under lockdown. 40 families are provided with aid so they can stay home.

The village is 89km from the capital Stepanakert.

(Could you have a movie script better than this? George Lucas can fk-off with his semi-intelligent furries and flying scrap metal. WE WANT PANDEMIC MOVIES, JACKASS!)

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185027

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185056

Artsakh elections / Yes or No?

Govt official says they'll take safety measures to keep the voters safe, "as it was done during the 1st round of elections".

Another official, President Bako's spokesman, said: we're waiting for Healthcare Ministry's assessment.

Frontrunner candidate Arayik: I'll respect any decision to postpone elections. [earlier he said it would be illegal to postpone]

Underdog Mayilyan: Don't participate in the elections. It should be postponed.

The Artsakh Electoral Committee approved April 14th as the Presidential election day. The Parliamentary elections are already over, and the parties were given their seats.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185056

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185071

https://factor.am/238592.html

product prices / masks' black market / ginger/ tomato

MP to Economic Competition Committee: there are reports of price hikes and your agency doing nothing. Are you monitoring prices?

Economic Competition Committee response:

We don't set product prices. We examine abuse of market power, and it takes time to fix problems even when our agents work 12-hour shifts.

We monitor 44 product-category prices regularly. The prices haven't doubled, as some people suggested. Report to us if you see specific cases so we can investigate possible abuse.

Some of the latest price hikes are related to currency changes and imports getting more expensive. Today the local agricultural product got cheaper in almost all categories. The market works properly.

Someone took a photo of an Italian tomato selling for $10/kilo and claimed the tomato prices have skyrocketed, while a local tomato was selling for $1.5/kilo nearby.

Another example is an expensive type of cucumber that's even more rare at this time of year. People take photos of it and claim all cucumber prices are high.

There were reports of bread prices doubling, while the market shows only a 10% hike which we predicted due to a flour price hike.

Regarding the famous story of ginger prices multiplying.... we found that Armenian importers didn't raise the prices. They bought it for a high price from abroad and had to sell it for a high price. An Armenian company then bought it in large quantities to gauge the price. We went and found him. There is an investigation.

We must not artificially limit product prices or sales volumes. It'll create a black market. That is what happened when we initially tried to limit medical mask prices. Those businesses, who purchased medical masks for high prices, were unable to resell them for a high price, so they opted for a black market. (better learn late than never?)

https://youtu.be/dQBsdUBFp-E

https://factor.am/238440.html

GRAPHs of various prices: https://hetq.am/hy/article/115670

Tag #PriceHike #FoodPrices #BlackMarket #MedicalMasks #Ginger

Property prices / Real estate vs COVID

Deputy chief of Cadastre Committee says:

During a crisis, property transaction numbers reduce first, and if it lasts for several months, the prices decrease.

As of February, transaction numbers were still rising, but after March it'll reduce. Whether the price will drop or not will depend on how long COVID lasts.

Transaction numbers reduce due to a period of uncertainty. People don't want to invest in property. At the moment, however, the biggest drop in transactions is actually because many real estate offices are closed, and only a few can handle paperwork online.

Prices have skyrocketed since April/May of 2018. (hmmmm 🤔🤔🤔). Both transaction numbers and prices kept increasing due to favorable conditions, up until February-2020.

(Californian nibbbas wishing they had more epidemics right about now)

https://hetq.am/hy/article/115665

foreign investments in 2019 vs 2018 / who and where?

Gross flows of foreign investments: +18% (total 1,423 billion)

Direct investments: -3% (total 284 billion)

Net inflows of foreign investment: up 11 times (total 164 billion)

Net flow of direct investment: -35% (total 48 billion)

Gross flows show the investments made in the real sector of the economy, without repayments on liabilities, prices, exchange rate, and other changes.

--

Gross flow of investments by country: Russia 34%, Germany 23%, Netherlands 18%, etc.

Direct investments by country: Russia 65%, etc.

Where was it invested?: 28% energy sector, 22% mining, etc.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/115632

GazProm-Armenia wants to invest $500mln

Gazprom-Armenia wants to raise consumer gas prices. Additionally, today they announced $500mln in possible investments until 2030.

"If we want to develop the 3rd electric power system to Iran, and [in exchange] more gas will be supplied to [Armenia], then the gas transmission system should be ready to accept bigger volumes," said GazProm-Armemeia. "There are some problems with Georgia-Armenia pipeline that needs fixing."

http://arka.am/en/news/business/gazprom_armenia_to_invest_500_million_in_infrastructure_upgrade/

pneumonia - cause unknown

Hundreds of patients die from pneumonia in Armenia each year while their medical record states that the cause of pneumonia is "unknown".

"The World Health Organization doesn't like this," says Yerevan's chief pathologist Mkhitaryan, "every pneumonia's cause must be discovered to have an accurate understanding of what's killing people, so preventative measures can be taken. Armenia doesn't have the same labs as Europe does to do a full range of tests."

"To successfully identify the cause, the culprit must be extracted from the dead body and grown in a lab. Then an animal must be successfully infected with it, and it should result in the same problem that was detected in the human. This concludes the testing and verification process, which Armenia lacks."

"You can't use a standard testkit on a dead body."

"We advised against autopsy of dead patients who were confirmed with COVID, to protect medical workers."

Full https://youtu.be/1SDaqUVBYL8

https://factor.am/238583.html

Tag: #Autopsy #COVIDautopsy #COVIDtest

10,000s test kits could be produced

Yesterday the govt gave 275mln to the Institute of Molecular Biology to produce COVID test kits in Armenia. The institute's director says they're in talks with international scientists to buy the stuff needed to produce dozens of thousands of kits within a few weeks.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185074

Tag: #TestKit #COVIDkit

Yandex Taxi will aid its quarantined drivers

Yandex Taxi created a $6mln aid package to help its drivers across several countries, including Armenia. Those who contracted COVID or had to quarantine will qualify.

The aid will equal half of the average income that the driver used to earn before COVID. 14-day worth aid will be given.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185002

Pashinyan criticized BHK chief Gago's donation's PR tactics

A citizen asked Pashinyan: When are the former oligarchs going to pay back?

The conversation led to Pashinyan criticizing BHK chief Dodi Gago, without giving his name, for donating a small amount (at least for Gago) and having his media glorify him for that.

"We calculated it. Each donated bag contained 3,000 Dram worth of food. A total of 400,000 Drams ($800) was spent. That cost him less than what he would pay to directly advertise himself on the TV," said Pashinyan while indirectly referring to Gago and his TV outlet Kentron.

Kentron TV kept hammering how Gago was helping people in the region. 3 documentaries in 1 day. Gago's press secretary says they don't know whether Pashinyan was referring to Gago or not, so they won't comment. (cautiously optimistic)

https://factor.am/238659.html

https://youtu.be/fkhxi7hDWY8

Russian military's mobile lab

Defense Ministry negotiated with Russia to bring a group of Russian experts and a mobile lab capable of testing for COVID. It'll be used in the Armenian army and the Russian military base. The experts arrived today.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185076

Aurora donates to fight COVID

Humanitarian Aurora Initiative has donated 60mln Drams to fight COVID in Armenia. Ventilators to be purchased.

https://factor.am/238477.html

govt sends COVID aid checks / do you qualify?

Last week the govt approved 9 aid packages for businesses and people affected by COVID.

The govt has so far distributed 2.3bln Drams to banks. People can go to the banks and pick up their cash.

Applicants can visit http://www.online.ssa.am (being updated with more recipient names), enter their names, and find out if they qualify. If they do, the website will display the name of the bank that holds their cash. An ID and a physical visit is necessary.

If the cash isn't picked up within 3 months, the bank returns it to govt.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/184989

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185001

open air music

Armenian national philharmonic plays in the open air for you. The goal is to shoot COVID particles as high up in the air as possible with the help of clarinet.

https://youtu.be/9f7USiIqNOs

--

Armenian traditional music from a balcony

https://www.facebook.com/Gyumrifolk/videos/249918849519606/


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/fwrder/apr72020_todays_news_summarized_incarceration/


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