2020 August 27

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Aug/27/2020 News TLDR: \\ New airport, village, reservoir to be built \\ Doctor becomes Hero \\ COVID tickets \\ "Quarantine" to replace Emergency State \\ Big bust over police bribery \\ Prison guards arrested \\ Worker rights \\ Lebanese-Armenians \\ Utility subsidies \\ Roads++ \\ Kurds in Turkey
by ar_david_hh


New village will be built / Reservoir revival project

The govt has obtained lands in Shirak province to build a new village. It'll house 350 residents of a soon to be relocated village.

They'll be relocated due to the construction of a water reservoir "Kaps", which will fill their current village lands with water. It'll irrigate 30,000 hectares.

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The affected village is part of Amasia Settlement (a collection of villages) located 22km north of Gyumri, near the Akhuryan river basin. The reservoir will gradually expand from 25 to 60m m3 volume.

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Pashinyan: this is the first time in modern history that we build a village from zero. It needs to meet the standards of a 21st-century village.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026011.html

https://factor.am/279164.html#

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=emb_title&time_continue=8&v=pvAw3AKU1s0

update: gas explosion partly collapses apartment building

Yesterday part of a building collapsed, leaving 1 dead and 2 seriously injured. Dozens were safely evacuated.

Pashinyan: // please pay special attention to gas appliance's safety protocols. Yesterday's incident is, unfortunately, one of many in Armenia. The affected families are currently housed in hotels. //

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What to do if you smell gas: open the windows, close the gas valves, call 104.

What NOT to do: anything that can light a fire or cause a spark, such as turning on an appliance.

More tips in links: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026000.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026003.html

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/194343

A doctor receives Order of Fatherland (a Hero title) for the first time

Heart surgeon Doctor Hagop Hovagumian has been awarded the Order of Fatherland for saving many lives for years, contributing to the healthcare system, training new doctors, advancements in surgeries, etc.

Hagop is the 19th person and the 1st doctor with this medal. It is the equivalent of a "hero" title.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026037.html

https://factor.am/279262.html

COVID stats

+1,938 tested. +203 infected. +262 healed. +3 deaths. 5,153 active.

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A group of Armenian citizens protested in front of govt building. They want the govt to negotiate with Georgia to allow their transit to Russia. "People have businesses there. They've been stranded here for 6 months. We've been unable to get help from Pashinyan."

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Pashinyan: it appears the infection's decline has resumed. We had a high number of tests with fewer infections. It's important to keep it up. Remember to exercise safety. The virus's decline depends on an individual's behavior.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025999.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026005.html

https://factor.am/279215.html

While masks fight the pandemic, others fight the masks

The trio of opposition parties ARF, BHK, and Hayreniq (founded by ex NSS chief Vanetsyan and his HHK friend), decided to sue the government to suspend the process of issuing tickets to those who don't wear masks.

They also want to cancel every $20 ticket that was been issued to date, citing poverty.

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Context: At the peak of the pandemic, the govt significantly reduced the size of tickets for not wearing a mask, so they could start issuing tickets to many more people to convince the general public to wear masks. The penalty size reduction was also applied to previously issued penalties. Critics believe the reduced penalties were still unwarranted. The wearing of masks ultimately led to a reduction in infections.

https://factor.am/279155.html

How many tickets have been written for not wearing a mask?

As of July 8th, the police recorded 66k instances of not wearing a mask but only 20k people were given a $20 ticket.

75 were successfully struck-down in court.

$9,500 have been paid so far out of possible $400,000.

LHK suggests canceling the tickets but only for those who're low-income (but would that be Constitutional? 🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔 Let's ask ուստա Edmon)

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/194160

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284507/

Emergency State law to be amended / Introduction of "Quarantine" state

The govt doesn't want to extend the Emergency, but they need to amend the law to continue to fight the virus without a full-blown Emergency.

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Justice and Healthcare Ministries: // it's possible that pandemic's decline can allow us to save lives without an Emergency State.

The amendment introduces a new "Quarantine" process without Emergency. The Quarantine can be declared by local governments in specific locations, at the permission of the Healthcare Ministry.

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The Quarantine can include movement restrictions and self-isolation.

In the event it's widespread and the Quarantine is declared by the federal government, then it additionally allows restriction on schools, trade, protests.

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The Quarantine will be less restrictive than Emergency. There will no longer be electronic monitoring of potentially infected citizens, suspension of businesses, and the enforcement tools will be different [these last parts were amended at the request of Human Rights Ombudsman]. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026014.html

https://factor.am/279176.html

Some of George Soros's biggest critics are his closet fanboys

7or.am is one of former regime's many outlets. They routinely attack George Soros and his foundation.

It turns out 7or's founder took dozens of thousands of dollars from Soros to improve his website, launch a new blog, and translate articles in Russian.

https://fip.am/12434

Massive ՃՈպլիկ corruption busted / Driver's license

NSS report says: 15 people are charged with giving and receiving bribes. A policeman in Vanadzor used his friend to find prospective drivers looking to buy a driver's license. The driving tests were then rigged.

The cop is charged with 18 counts of corruption and is arrested. The rest are facing similar but fewer charges.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026032.html

update: ex-IRS chief to stay in jail

The court has rejected a petition to release ex-Minister and ex-IRS chief Gagik Khachatryan from jail. He's facing financial crime charges.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026034.html

SIS has arrested 2 prison guards

This story is likely unrelated to alleged abuse of an inmate a few days ago.

SIS has found that, in February 2020, several Nubarashen prison guards removed an inmate from his cell under the pretense of taking him to the warden's office.

They allegedly took him to another cell where several other inmates were already waiting for him. He was beaten by inmates.

Two prison guards have just been arrested for setting him up.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026039.html

Can't get fired because of age

The Constitution and international agreements prohibit age-based labor discrimination, reminds the Helsinki Committee.

They found instances of workers being fired after reaching a certain age.

A woman was fired last year as soon as she became a senior, even though that didn't hinder her abilities to do the job.

She sued the employer for wrongful termination and won. The NGO is offering help with similar lawsuits.

https://hcav.am/labor-rights-2/

Charity concert for Lebanon

All-Armenia Fund will hold a concert on August 29th to help Lebanese-Armenian schools.

There will be singers, a special report from Beirut, guest speakers including Serj Tankian, President Armen Sarkissian, producer Atom Egoyan, Arsinee Khanjian, and others.

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In other news, 9 more Lebanese-Armenian families will settle in Artsakh. 2 families had earlier moved to Shushi.

Live broadcast at: https://www.facebook.com/HayastanAllArmenianFund/

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026060.html

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284482/

4 years later, April Battles participant receives a Hero title

Artsakh govt gave a Hero medal posthumous to Captain Armenak Urfanyan.

The 26yo contractor encouraged his fellows to defend the outpost during the April 2nd Azeri attack. They succeeded, at the cost of his life. He neutralized several soldiers and heavy equipment. Died from tank fire.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026026.html

Law to extend utility subsidies for bordering villagers, and new aid

QP MPs drafted a bill which was approved by the govt today. (yet to receive a Parliament vote)

Residents of 36 bordering settlements would receive 50% subsidy for utility bills, no land or property tax, mandatory repairs by the government if Azerbaijan bombs their homes (new aid).

In addition to medical bills, the govt will pay $6k if a civilian is wounded from Azeri fire or $10.4k if dies (new aid).

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026021.html

Tag: #BorderVillage #BorderAid

Bomb shelters are being built near borders

The Emergency Ministry built modular bomb shelters and reinforced residents' basements in a Tavush village.

Some of them can house 70 people and are made of metal and concrete.

https://factor.am/279189.html

Infrastructure++

Upper Getashen is having 7 of its streets renovated. The new 2km irrigation network will serve 13 districts.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026027.html

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Balahovot bridge is being renovated for $300k.

https://factor.am/279149.html

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Angel-Hrazdan road is being renovated with thicc asphalt, water removal network, metal barriers, and signs.

https://factor.am/279227.html

Kapan's new airport is almost ready

The runway and building are ready. They need to import technology. Once it's done, they'll ask Civil Aviation for a permit to host airplanes. It should be ready by 1Q21.

Zangezur copper mine has donated a L-410 small aircraft.

40 jobs will be created.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/194331

https://hetq.am/hy/article/113914

Chess team advances to 1/4th tour

Online Chess Olympiad. Armenia defeated Greece and advanced to 1/4th. They'll play against India tomorrow.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026085.html

Azeri government hosts the ax murderer in Parliament

Ramil Safarov was invited to Azeri Parliament and welcomed by the Culture Committee chief, who congratulated Safarov with his birthday. "We'll liberate Karabakh with the help of heroes like you," said the Culture Committee chief.

https://factor.am/279283.html

Rapid growth of Kurdish population makes Turkish government anxious

rapid growth of Turkish population

The first census in Turkish Republic was done in 1927 and it revealed 14m residents. By 2019, it was 83m.

The notable period of growth was 2007-2017, during which it jumped from 70m to 80m.

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the future looks great!

By 2050 it'll be 96m according to UN, while Turkish govt says they'll reach that number a decade sooner.

The growing population was one of the playing cards in the hands of Turkey since 1996 when they announced plans to join the EU. Everybody likes a young and working-age population!

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does it really look great, though?

No problem with population, it seems, so why do we hear statements by Turkish politicians with "concerning" tone?

Recep Erdogan keeps telling young families they need to have at least 3 kids. "Women cannot have a full life without kids. Turks in Europe must have 5 kids," said Erdogan, followed by similar statements by his colleagues.

He even tried to ban abortions before receiving a public backlash.

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Kurdish population growth explodes

Kurdish

population has been rapidly expanding in recent years. Some estimates put it at 3x faster than Turkish growth.

Depending on whom you ask, 14-35m Kurds are living in Turkey.

Why doesn't the Turkish Census have an accurate number? Because the Census doesn't record ethnicity. Every citizen is counted as a Turk.

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Kurdish growth makes Turkish politicians anxious

While Turks, who mostly live in western parts of the country, prefer to have 2 children, Kurds are having well over 3.

Turkish nationalist MHP party official and Kurdish commando Abdullah Ocalan once predicted that soon, as early as 2037, the populations of Turks and Kurds will be equal.

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Wiping out Armenians "backfired"?

Some Turkish figures are concerned about the concentration of Kurds in eastern and southern regions. They think that by wiping out Armenians, they only carried out a "tactical victory" but "lost the war".

They believe that Armenians were "more educated" in certain aspects than Kurds (for example Istanbul's architect was Palyan family), which is why now Turkey is worse-off with Kurds having replaced Armenians, they believe.

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Erdogan isn't even hiding it

After the failed "coup" in 2016, Erdogan stated that "We lost 250 people but saved 50-million-strong Turkey". Why only 50m, when Turkey's population was 80m? Likely because he doesn't view Kurds as part of Turkey.

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People began speculating that the real Kurdish population is 30m (80-50). Remember, it's hard to get official data on this.

Others pointed out that even 50m is too high for Turks because there are many other Muslim ethnicities besides Turks and Kurds.

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ballots replace weapons

One metric that confirms the rapid Kurdish growth is the election victories.

In 1980s, the Turkish govt amended the Constitution to require political parties to win at least 10% to enter Parliament. The bar was purposely set high to block Kurds, and it did, for 30 years.

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But in 2015, Kurdish HDP party (whose member is Armenian MP Garo Paylan) crossed the barrier and won 80 seats out of 550. It was unprecedented.

Despite political persecutions by Erdogan, the HDP party managed to cross it two more times (2015 and 2018).

In 2019, HDP chose not to run candidates in local elections, and instead, endorsed Erdogan's primary rival CHP party. The latter won major victories, including in Istanbul.

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Why were HDP successful in elections?

Not only are Kurds politically organized in the south-east, but also around Istanbul, which has the world's largest Kurdish population. The Kurdish population growth is also an obvious reason.

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What is Erdogan doing about it?

The regime began using Kurdish PKK (terrorist organization in Turkey) as a pretense to harass legitimate Kurdish politicians, by accusing them of collaboration, then removing them from elections.

Several Kurdish newspapers and parties have been persecuted and closed, but they keep coming back like a phoenix.

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Source: https://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/07/06/Թուրքիան-քրդացման-վտանգի-առջև/389209

There is also Part 2 which I won't post here: https://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/08/27/Ապաքրդացման-հիմնախնդիրը-Թուրքիայում/393519

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You've read 2125 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ihqu0d/aug272020_news_tldr_new_airport_village_reservoir/

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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