2020 August 14

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Aug/14/2020 news: / STEM in 2nd grade / 71 soldiers get medals. Tavush Battles / Beirut aid & repatriates. / Pashinyan is grilled / Anti-Corruption Court discussions / Officials charged with corruption / Uranium / Sasna Tsrer threats / Azerbaijan / COVID news / Beautiful Armenia / Infrastructure++
by ar_david_hh


Tavush battles / Archive of events

July 12.... July 13…. July 14.... July 15.... July 16…. July 17…. July 18…. July 19…. July 20…. July 21... July 22.... July 23.... July 24... July 25... July 27... July 28... July 29... July 30... July 31... August 2... August 3... August 9...

71 soldiers awarded for Tavush Battles / Hero title for a Captain

Pashinyan: Captain Ruben Sananyan will receive the title of a National Hero. I had an honor to meet him recently.

16 soldiers will receive First Degree Combat Cross, while 55 to get Second Degree. They have all earned it.

Glory to our army.

Full: https://factor.am/276565.html

Pashinyan is grilled by BBC HARDtalk

[Nothing new is said if you've been keeping up with the conflict. You can scroll down.]

The PM gave an interview to BBC's HARDtalk show which presses the guests with confrontational questions. Questions can contain inaccurate assertions. Here are some bits:

--

Host: Welcome. It's more than 2 years since you came in power with high hopes after "Velvet revolution". When I look at Armenia today it seems that many Armenians feel that those hopes are dashed.

Pashinyan: I wouldn't agree with your impression. All citizens see that we live in a democratic country. In 2019 we had the biggest economic growth in Europe. We made tremendous improvements in all international ranking stats about democracy, freedom of speech, judicial, anti-corruption. Two years in a raw they recognized Armenia as the country of the year. [goes on with more braggadocio]

--

Host: you failed to achieve peace in Karabakh. It's business as usual. Not much has changed.

Pashinyan: peace cannot be achieved with unilateral actions by Armenia. Azerbaijan should also put effort. I repeat that any settlement must be acceptable for Azeri people and Artsakh people. I'm the first Armenian leader to say that. Unfortunately, Aliyev hasn't joined me.

--

Host: actions speak louder than words, tho. Your soldiers shelled Azeri villages near the Tavush border. A 76-year-old Azeri civilian was killed. It triggered a reaction from Azeris. Your policies are not designed to achieve peace.

Pashinyan: Azerbaijan launched the attack on Armenia. It came after Aliyev's lengthy militaristic rhetoric. He is facing a challenge with explaining to his people why they haven't been able to solve the Karabakh conflict through force.

--

Host: you two blame each other for starting the battle, I can't settle that, but it's clear you've been provoking by stating that "Karabakh (you called it Artsakh) is Armenia, period".

Pashinyan: [incoherent English sentence about who starts aggression]. For several thousand years Karabakh was populated by indigenous Armenians, and we call it Artsakh because of that reason. We've routinely proposed an international ceasefire violation detection mechanism.

--

Host: hold on, hold on, the UN has a resolution stating those are occupied lands and demands for Armenian Forces' withdrawal.

Pashinyan: the UN doesn't say Armenian army is occupying it. It mentions Armenian self-defense forced of Nagorno Karabakh. The reality is, 80% of Karabakh were Armenian when Azerbaijan tried to commit ethnic cleansing.

--

Host: you want to build the 3rd road to connect Armenia to Karabakh. Several European Parliament MPs filed a report criticizing it. [Note: the report's author later resigned and a co-rapporteur promised to take into account Armenia's complaints]

Pashinyan: Karabakh wants to build a road on their land because people live on those lands. People need food and mobility. Azerbaijan is exercising a policy of isolation and blockade.

--

Host: you have a nationalist position on Karabakh. There is no meaningful peace element to it. You're just like your predecessors. Do you bring anything different to the table?

Pashinyan: I don't agree that our position is nationalistic. Karabakh Armenians are under an existential threat. We're asking for Azerbaijan to renounce the possibility of the use of force. We should agree on the formula that this conflict has no military solution.

--

[Convo about COVID, human rights issues during wars, military and economic cooperation with Russia and Europe,

Full interview: https://youtu.be/adLfExGlcaw

Pashinyan is grilled by a 9-year-old child

Kid: (runs and hugs Pashinyan outside of govt building). I wanna take a pic with you.

Pashinyan: when will the classes resume?

Kid: when?

Pashinyan: September 15th.

Kid: why is there no asphalt in front of our house? (shots fired)

Pashinyan: come show me where your house is. Where are your parents, by the way?

Mother: (gives the location of their street)

Pashinyan: [consults w/someone] the construction on that street began yesterday. It'll reach your house this year.

Angry resident: when will you shut down those 4 [Roboserj] TV channels?

Pashinyan: let them speak.

Angry resident: they're chewing our nerves.

Pashinyan: you have the remote control, haha. Don't watch it.

https://youtu.be/WfQq5rIzF_0

More illegal Sevan shore buildings are destroyed

Yesterday the govt began demolishing structures that were built too close to Sevan, so the lake levels can rise. Today another trailer house was removed.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284040/

Public discussions about proposed Anti-Corruption Court / Lawyers & Judges / Has the judicial system improved?

Besides the new Corruption Prevention Committee, which audits officials, there will be a new Anti-Corruption Court (ACC). Today, various lawyers and NGOs joined the discussion about how it should operate, and who should be allowed as a judge.

--

Participant said: // The creation of ACC will be an important milestone towards the AM-EU Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement because Armenia is required to fight against corruption.

--

The proposed qualification rules for a judge's nominee will disqualify lawyers if they've received severe disciplinary warnings in the past 5 years.

It's good on paper, but in practice, many honest lawyers might be disqualified because as history tells us, the Lawyers' Chamber can be politicized and intentionally issue such disqualifying warnings to honest lawyers.

--

For example, in 2016 the govt installed checkpoints at court entrances to frisk every lawyer. Some of them complained and resisted, so they were given [disqualifying] warnings. It was later revealed that lawyers' rights were violated.

Moreover, the delay caused by these entrance checks would result in lawyers being late from trials, which would earn them a [disqualifying] warning from the presiding judge.

--

Things have changed after 2018. During the recent Robert Kocharyan trial, the Lawyer's Chamber not only didn't ask the judge to punish the missing Kocharyan lawyer but actively urged the judge NOT to do so.

--

In 2017, under the context of Sasna Tsrer hostage takeover trial, during an interview to TV, a lawyer referred to police as a "group of bandits". He was issued a [disqualifying] warning.

Meanwhile, after the revolution, some [Kocharyan] lawyers were free to the point that DURING the court trial they asked a judge if she was "one of those judges that howls under a door while waiting for orders".

In another instance, a lawyer said that this judge should stay home and adopt cats, without receiving a warning.

--

To this day, however, there is a double-standard in favor of some judges. Judicial candidate Karapet Badalyan was warned for making some statement.

Meanwhile, [vocally pro-Kocharyan] judge Alexander Azaryan is given special treatment despite giving many interviews during which he crossed the ethical line. [recently the Justice Ministry asked Supreme Court to discipline Judge Azaryan but they found that the judge didn't violate rules.]

--

New qualification rules for ACC candidates shouldn't unfairly disqualify lawyers. \\

--

https://factor.am/276400.html , https://youtu.be/J4qgV3hA704

Tags: #ACC #AntiCorruptionCourt #LawyersChamber

Sasna Tsrer member threatens another hostage takeover

Yesterday we learned how the members of Sasna Tsrer military-nationalist group are facing 8 years to life sentence for taking a police station hostage in 2016 and killing 3 cops.

The members, some of whom are free pre-trial, aren't happy with the possible sentences. One of them wrote, "Do you want a new takeover? You'll get it. Don't say we didn't warn you."

A QP MP tasked with security issues warned that the authorities will "deal a blow to any such attempts, don't do stupid things".

https://youtu.be/N41ZMfhB7ho

Anti-corruption / Policeman busted

SIS report says: a police official in Lori took bribes from a resident in exchange for helping to beat an illegal deforestation case.

The cop staged a fake inspection scene in the forest and ended up writing a citation that is significantly milder than what the law required.

--

In another instance, the cop busted a truck full of illegally cut trees but ignored it after taking a bribe.

The cop and the bribe givers are charged with a felony.

https://factor.am/276419.html

Forest protection official busted

The director of Hayantar's Vayots Dzor branch is charged with felony embezzlement of $24K for allegedly registering his family members as fake employees to embezzle their wages since 2016.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284058/

Beirut explosion / Syrian & Lebanese Armenians

Charity concert titled "Armenians Stand with Lebanon" is scheduled for August 15th. There is a donation hotline.

https://www.facebook.com/ars1910/ , https://hetq.am/hy/article/120512

--

Diaspora Committee chief Zareh Sinanyan: we met Armenians in Beirut, and based on the gathered info, we drafted a suggestion for the government to take action... There should be an aid package for repatriates to comfortably settle and help us create the future.

--

A 2019 survey showed that 58% of Lebanese-Armenians are willing to leave Lebanon. Some wanted to move to Armenia.

370 of them moved to Armenia for permanent residence since July 14th. The three humanitarian jets that recently supplied aid, ended up bringing back with them 101 repatriates.

https://youtu.be/Is6BRwvzmuk , https://youtu.be/MayDtyjDTzc , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024986.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024997.html

--

Journalist: some outlets want to know whether you want to repopulate Armenia with Christian Arabs and Assyrians, after your recent statement. Isn't that dangerous?

Sinanyan: it's misinterpreted. It's about improving Armenia to the point that other nations with similar cultures would be willing to live in Armenia. The point was raised by a Lebanon-based official, and I agreed with him.

https://youtu.be/4xkEJdtSLyU

--

Sinanyan: we're also collecting info about medicine shortages in the Syrian-Armenian community. We'll try to help with COVID.

https://factor.am/276490.html

Ilham Aliyev continues to purge undesirables / Mammedyarov on line

As we've learned from Azeri dissidents, two clans in Azerbaijan fight for power. Aliyev/Pashayev vs Old Guard.

Aliyev's reign on Foreign Ministry is about getting rid of Old Guard loyalists. That's why 2 MFA officials were arrested and MFA Mammedyarov was fired.

Today the Azeri authorities prohibited Mammedyarov from leaving the country over a pending felony investigation. They need him to "answer questions". The official reason is "anti-corruption".

https://factor.am/276457.html

AZ ambassador in Serbia is accused of helping to sell weapons to AM

Aliyev's purge of undesirables continues. Yesterday we learned how they lured the Azeri ambassador to Serbia to visit Baku under the pretense of discussing Serbian weapon sales to Armenia. The ambassador was swiftly handcuffed upon arrival.

Today he was charged with financial crimes, and is accused of helping to sell Serbian weapons to Armenia.

https://factor.am/276534.html

Azerbaijan's fate in the European Eastern Partnership

European Parliament's 2nd largest party Socialists & Democrats drew parallels between the rigged elections in Belarus and Azerbaijan, and the human rights abuses that accompanied them, and called for Azerbaijan's expulsion from Eastern Partnership programs. "Dictators are the enemies of free societies."

The same party earlier called for sanctions against Azeri officials.

https://factor.am/276572.html

Mother sells her child then calls cops after not getting paid

Someone sold her 1-year-old kid for $1,000 but only got paid $600, so she called the cops.

[insert a meme of an Arab man rubbing his palms and saying Congratulations, You Played Yourself]

https://factor.am/276554.html

COVID stats / Minister fined / Airport tests

+276 infected. +5 deaths. 6,082 active. 181,962 tested.

--

The Economy Minister entered the press conference room without a mask before realizing and wearing one. The police gave him a $20 ticket after the conference.

--

Armenia could soon take COVID test samples from visitors at the airport, before they move to quarantine. A day later, if the test result comes negative, the visitor will be notified that they're allowed to leave quarantine.

https://factor.am/276375.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025004.html , http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284050/ Agricultural loan aid during COVID

Economy Minister: as part of a previous aid package, 21,446 agricultural businesses received the subsidized loans. That's a big number, and since the loan qualification rules were strict, it indicates that our agricultural industry has many creditworthy businesses.

More: https://factor.am/276416.html

This is Yerevan's Circular Park. It's being renovated

Photos: https://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/08/14/Երևան․-բարեկարգվում-է-Օղակաձև-զբոսայգին-ֆոտոշարք/392644

Education & school problems during COVID

Expert: // The Education Ministry still hasn't solved several problems with in-person classes coming September.

How will the proposed plan to split classes into 3 smaller groups work? The teacher would be overloaded. Will they get extra pay?

Can schools with 1,500 students handle triple classes?

The federal govt must pay for smaller schools' routine disinfection and equipment. Otherwise, schools will have to collect funds from parents. \\

https://factor.am/276410.html

"No uranium radiation problem in Amulsar hills"

The Nuclear Safety Regulatory Committee audited the Amulsar mine and concluded that it doesn't have dangerous uranium, said Lydian miner. "50,000 samples were examined."

The miner accused environmentalists of fear-mongering by using a 1952 Soviet research.

"The inspection found that the aforementioned 1952 research was about an area outside of the Amulsar mining zone."

https://factor.am/276519.html

Prominent LHK MP resigns amid health issues

Mane Tandilyan is one of LHK's highest-ranking officials. She temporarily served as Labor Minister after the 2018 revolution's transitional period.

He resigned today due to health problems. LHK has appointed Stepan Stepanyan to take her seat.

https://factor.am/276354.html , https://factor.am/276381.html

Road repairs in Gegharquniq

A road section connecting Sevan city to the highway is being renovated for the first time in 30 years.

"This was one of my election campaign promises. The repair will completely change the community life," said Pashinyan.

121km roads were renovated in Gegharquniq province this year.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025006.html

Water infrastructure in Garni

Garni's drinking water pipes are 70 years old. They're being renovated so 3,000 users can get water. Costs $320K.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025034.html

STEM education reforms / Computer Science classes

The "informatika" subject will be replaced by "Digital Literacy and Computer Science". It'll be taught beginning 2nd grade.

The main objectives: computing and society, digital tools and collaboration, computer devices and systems, computational and algorithmic thinking.

More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025014.html

Armenia Love ❤

First lady Anna Hakobyan launched a new initiative to boost tourism in Armenia and Artsakh. Hashtag VisitArmenia & ArmeniaLove.

It's meant to promote Armenian traditional food, attire, culture, nature.

Photos: https://factor.am/276435.html

It's that time of the week again 📚📖

What books have Yerevan's basement dwellers been reading in July?

5) Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes

4) Dear Baby, by William Saroyan

3) Mama I love you, by William Saroyan

2) The Human Comedy, by William Saroyan

1) Manon Lescaut, by Antoine Prévost

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024934.html

--

You've read 2386 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/i9syy4/aug142020_news_stem_in_2nd_grade_71_soldiers_get/

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. Helpful overview of Armenia's media ownership and leanings.


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