2020 August 30

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Aug/30/2020 news: \\ Armenia's one of a kind radio-optical telescope could connect to international network for space exploration \\ ex-Minister charged with $1.7m theft \\ Court verdict on HHK mayor's bail \\ PM's trip \\ Germany, Turkey, Azerbaijan, EU \\ Mountain squad \\ Dilijan's new Rope Park
by ar_david_hh


Make astronomy great again / The story of that sci-fi looking Orgov antenna / Politics & Future

the origins

Elon Musk is secretly jealous of Armenia's 54-meter-diameter radio-optic telescope located near Orgov village, created by Paris Heruni in 1980s. It was supposed to be built in Crimea at the request of Moscow, but Heruni insisted on Armenia.

It is one of a kind and can be used for space exploration and radio communication. It hasn't operated since 1991 but it's functional.

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they almost killed it

In 2011, the founder's son Vahagn Heruni criticized the govt for trying to privatize and sell the telescope for personal gains instead of investing and developing science in Armenia and Artsakh. "They are doing everything to hinder our work towards resuming the operations."

In 2015 the govt launched a committee to examine its possible use. The committee chief claimed the antenna is too old and requires a $200m renovation to relaunch it. "It's cheaper to build a new one."

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a new hope

Founder Paris Haruni's niece Arevik Sargsyan disagrees that the antenna is useless without a $200m investment.

In 2017 they cooperated with a foundation to lobby for the creation of a new Heruni National Space Center. (The govt promised to look into it in March-2018).

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In April, the chief of the International Aeronautics Academy visited Armenia to discuss it with Economy Ministry. They signed a memorandum.

In September the astronomers invited world-renowned antenna expert Kees van ‘t Klooster. He concluded that the antenna has a very valuable high-tech, that it can operate after some modernization.

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2018 political changes delay the process

Late 2018 was politically unstable. The Economy Minister has recently resigned and ARF Artsvik Minasyan was in charge. Then the Parliamentary ARF-LHK-BHK-QP "cooperation" ended and QP fired the Ministers that it had appointed from other parties, and replaced them with Ministers from their QP party. New Economy Minister was appointed, thus delaying the cooperation around the telescope again.

Next year in March 2019 the Deputy PM Avinyan launched a process to merge a few relevant institutes and launch a scientific exploration process.

--

2020-onward. Interview with Heruni's niece Arevik:

//

We have a group of 25 members in the foundation tasked with its renovation. We spoke with international experts from ARPA, JIVE, NI, Acronis International.

We can only do this with the help of govt-private cooperation. We need govt assistance during the first 5 years. We have a business plan afterward.

--

Recently we asked European JIVE to assess the telescope's condition. JIVE contacted PM Pashinyan and spoke about the importance of reviving this project.

We plan to have a long-term cooperation plan with the international scientific community for joint use of the telescope. It will be connected to a network of similar powerful radio interferometer antennas from around the world.

--

We'll cooperate with international, Armenian, and Artsakh universities, and organize hands-on training.

Antennas like these are used to take photos of black holes, star explosions, diamond planets far away, and unexplained things. It can place Armenia on the world map of high-tech.

Now the goal is to convince the govt to support this. We're full of hope.

//

Here is a video: https://youtu.be/Z6Mwue0Lplc

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https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/29897

https://shesht.am/science/heruni-astxaditak

https://hy.wikipedia.org/wiki/Օրգովի_ռադիոօպտիկական_աստղադիտակ

https://www.lragir.am/2020/08/27/574545/

https://news.am/arm/news/52796.html

ex-Minister is charged with $1.7m embezzlement

HHK Sergo Karapetyan, along with ex-IRS boss HHK Gagik Khachatryan, is a co-defendant in agricultural fertilizer embezzlement and auction rigging case, worth 800mln ($1.7m).

He denies wrongdoing and says he was only carrying out orders.

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Sergo is also a co-defendant in another similar agricultural embezzlement case involving ex-president Serzh Sargsyan. Sergo testified against Serj in that case.

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/30810419.html

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/emwkqe/jan102020_daily_anticorruption_news_summary_stay/

Cassations Court sides with prosecutors over ex-HHK mayor's arrest

The mayor of Masis HHK Davit Hambardzumyan allegedly formed a group of thugs who attacked peaceful protesters in Yerevan's Erebuni district during the 2018 peaceful revolution. The masked goons also damaged nearby vehicles to portray the protests as violent.

The Mayor also allegedly participated in a gang assault involving a gun at a different location.

--

He was charged with these crimes after the revolution. The Appeals Court allowed him to walk free after posting bail. Prosecutors challenged the decision in Cassations Court.

Over a year later, today, the Cassations Court finished hearing the appeal. They sided with prosecutors, citing Armenian court's and ECHR court's precedence, and the fact that the suspect is a high ranking official and a gun was involved.

--

But "it's too late" to send the mayor back to jail because his charges were later modified and the case is "already in court".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026193.html

Army corruption busted

An alleged bribe-giver and two army officials were arrested over a scheme to exempt some conscripts from military service.

https://factor.am/279697.html

Pashinyan's Syunik trip

This weekend's destination was Syunik province. The PM met residents to discuss problems with land, water, loans, costs associated with butchering animals only in licensed locations.

"I just learned about a 6km road that takes 40 minutes to cross. We'll repair it next year. We shouldn't have unrepaired roads in Armenia," said PM while in Angeghakot.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026187.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026190.html

https://youtu.be/hVEr-wNhrqQ

Next stop: Artsakh Republic

PM then used Robik Media's favorite helicopter to fly to Artsakh. President Arayik presented the upcoming construction of a new road that will connect Vardenis/Martakert to Qarvachar.

They then visited the district built with the help of Australian-Armenian donors. The govt is co-fiancing the construction of a hospital and new houses.

The next stop was a cafeteria at a military barrack where soldiers get the new high-quality food.

Video: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/194599

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026192.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026203.html

Turkey barred German military jet for peacekeepers

In July, Turkey didn't allow Germany to fly its military jet over Turkey to land in Armenia to pickup Armenian peacekeepers for a trip to Afghanistan. The German jet used an alternative route after a month-long delay.

German Spiegel outlet writes that NATO countries usually allow each other to use their territories for flights, and that "this was a deliberate provocation" by Turkey "which still refuses to recognize the Armenian Genocide."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026206.html

EU will sanction several Turkish officials and activities...

... over the dispute with Greece on the Mediterranean waters.

Turkey will conduct military exercises in the north-east of Cyprus.

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/30810255.html

"Azerbaijan is becoming a hostage to Turkey's aggressive regional ambitions"

... said and analyst.

"After each flare-up on AM-AZ borders, TR shows support for AZ and demands something in return. Now they want AZ to buy more Turkish weapons like drones, which AZ usually buys from Israel. Aliyev recently announced that TR will become AZ's primary military-industrial partner."

"The TR-AZ alliance should concern AM. AM should strengthen relations with Israel."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026209.html

https://factor.am/279735.html

https://factor.am/279716.html

Armenian embassy in Israel begins its operations

Until now, the Armenian ambassador's office was in France or Egypt. Now the Armenians living in Israel no longer need to reach abroad to deal with the embassy.

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/30811438.html

Mountain squad training / They are preparing for war

Bjni mountains have a remote camp where a group of few dozen men and women undergo 10-day physical and weapon training. New recruits join when the previous one is ready.

They are being prepared to join the frontlines in the event of war. Some of them are diasporans. The training is led by a woman.

"The public needs to end the detachment from reality and be prepared for a day when Azerbaijan and Turkey will bomb our streets."

Note: this is unrelated to the new Volunteer Army proposed by the government.

Video: https://youtu.be/NFKIXz3S8JQ

Military air show in Yerevan

https://youtu.be/R9lAym0iAYQ

COVID stats

+175 infected. +299 healed. +3 deaths. 203,979 tested. 4,925 active.

The daily detection graph: https://youtu.be/pvXXbOil6_g

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026189.html

Imports and Exports to EAEU

Economist Safaryan: // exports to Belarus and Kazakhstan grew in 1H YoY, and declined to Russia after 3 years of growth. Imports from Russia +18%.

We need to increase exports because they're below the imports by 3x.

--

Industry and agriculture can help to strengthen the GDP-to-export ratio.

Compared to Armenia's first year of EAEU membership, today our exports are more diversified. It went from mostly alcohol to agriculture and processed products. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026197.html

Artsakh sends $52k aid for Lebanese-Armenians

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026216.html

Artsakh's 1st president...

... Arthur Mkrtchyan has been awarded the title of a Hero posthumous, "for his role in establishing the Republic of Artsakh."

http://asbarez.com/196496/artsakhs-first-president-arthur-mkrtchian-to-be-posthumously-named-artsakh-hero/

Read this before climbing a mountain

Climbing up is easy, climbing down is not. Don't become a "Florida hiker".

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/194594

Border village Berqaber...

... is only a few hundred meters away from AZ border. The residents are used to living under threat.

It's named "berqaber" (harvest giver) because of a reservoir that was built on the border, which improved the agriculture during USSR. After 1991, around 900ha lands fell under AZ control and the reservoir is unreachable.

Many families are low-income. They need help with the resumption of school in September.

Berqaber's school vice president's family has 6 children, ranging from preschool to military age. They make ends meet by keeping animals and land work right in front of the AZ border.

Interviews with families: https://youtu.be/EkXlFVX5dbk

Look how they massacred my boy

Yerevan removed several illegally placed budka kiosks and garages from Norq district.

https://factor.am/279744.html

"We need an era of quantum politics"

Is the headline by former physicist and current President Sarkissian's article in Financial Times. He is writing a book with his son about the topic.

Paywall: https://www.ft.com/content/be19ce7e-bb88-4127-9496-6c9e492d52aa

Armenian translation: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026194.html

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284580/

Dilijan's Rope Park is ready

Earlier we learned how IDeA fund was renovating Dilijan's park. They removed old carousels and installed new interesting things.

Visitors can climb ropes and enjoy a variety of "hanging" attractions.

"Verev Park" has the region's longest rope park at 445 meters. It has 4 levels of difficulties for anyone above the age of 6.

$350k was spent. 13 new jobs. 4k visitors already.

Photos: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026188.html

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You've read 1635 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ijmv2h/aug302020_news_armenias_one_of_a_kind/

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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