2020 August 5

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Aug/5/2020 news: / Population grows / No grades in school / Beirut explosion. Armenian community / MP's Russian citizenship / "Pro-Pashinyan" media pushed out of LA / Foreign affairs / Amulsar protest. Arbitration lawsuit. Activists clash / COVID briefing. Re-opening plans / Food & Energy prices /
by ar_david_hh


Beirut explosion & Armenian community

The official cause is the explosion of 2.7k tons of ammonium nitrate that was confiscated from a ship in 2014.

Journalists say a Moldovan ship was transporting it from Georgia to Mozambique when it had to make an emergency stop in Lebanon. The cargo was confiscated by Lebanese IRS and kept in the port for 6 years.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024068.html

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Officials say the blast equaled to 1.1 kilotons of TNT. The 2015 Chinese chemical explosion was 0.3. Canada's Halifax was 2.7. It's 10% -20% of Hiroshima nuclear blast.

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This is the radius of the damage.

The blast was felt in Cyprus 200 km away. The govt says the material damages can reach $5b.

Lebanon has enough grains to last only for a month. They're looking for alternative storages.

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6 Armenians died and 100 were injured. Many Armenians are unaccounted for.

Armenian peacekeepers in Lebanon are far away and weren't injured.

10 firefighters died. 300,000 people don't have a roof

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Another Redditor IEatScientistsForBF shared their family's scary experience after the explosion: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/i3vnj0/serious_redditors_from_lebanon_or_beirut_how_are/g0fb7ee/

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The Armenian Antelias monastery sustained damages: https://factor.am/274229.html

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Armenian Azdak journalist was injured, while the Saghzoeyan Center sustained heavy damages: https://factor.am/274248.html

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Pashinyan: I spoke with Aram A Catholicos in Beirut. I'm shocked by the deadly explosion in fraternal Lebanon. Condolences.

MFA Mnatsakanyan: we're ready to send aid.

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Foreign Ministry created a special group tasked with providing aid. They're in touch with the AM embassy to assess the needs.

Diaspora Committee contacted the Armenian community and launched a damage assessment procedure.

The locals urgently need medicine for chronic illnesses, food, and water, help with rebuilding, aid to those who choose to move to Armenia.

PM's office said they'll send an emergency airplane with medicine and other first aid.

Local ARF division is also assessing the damages. "The explosion was so hard that we would have deaths if anyone was in the office at the time. The office was closed due to COVID."

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President Sarkissian, BHK leader Tsarukyan, Artsakh president Arayik, Catholicos Garegin B, and others sent their condolences to Lebanon and spoke with Aram A.

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A candlelight vigil was held in Yerevan's main square.

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https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8592549/Massive-explosion-rocks-Beirut-destroying-buildings.html , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Largest_artificial_non-nuclear_explosions , https://factor.am/274220.html , https://factor.am/274238.html , https://factor.am/274256.html , https://factor.am/274261.html , https://factor.am/274268.html , https://factor.am/274273.html , https://factor.am/274278.html , https://factor.am/274281.html , https://factor.am/274289.html , https://factor.am/274297.html , https://factor.am/274310.html , https://factor.am/274358.html , https://factor.am/274434.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024096.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024100.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024120.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024152.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024159.html ,

update: Russia gave citizenship to fugitive HHK MP Rubo

Yesterday we learned that fugitive ex-HHK MP Nemets Rubo, who is hiding in Russia, mysteriously came out as a Russian citizen, which allowed him to avoid an arrest. He claims he held a passport since 2003.

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The question arises: if Rubo was a Russian national beginning 2003, why was he allowed to apply to become an MP?

General Prosecutor has asked the investigators to attach that topic to Rubo's felony case.

https://factor.am/274340.html

Turkish lobbyist to lead Joe Biden's "ethnic engagement" team

Asbarez writes: Biden appointed the former director of Turkish Heritage Organization (THO) to lead his campaign's ethnic engagement tasks.

THO was created by Erdogan's son-in-law Berat Albayrak [the gentleman involved with smuggled ISIS oil].

The THO official has close ties to Erdogan's inner circles and the govt.

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Wikileaks revealed that THO internally discussed bypassing American lobbying laws and paying journalists to write pro-Erdogan articles.

Another leader of THO publicly spoke about "Armenian lies" regarding the Genocide topic.

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"[Biden's] latest statement on the Armenian Genocide, which failed to mention those that masterminded it, hasn’t endeared Armenian-American voters to take a chance on him in the November election.

With the appointment of [THO] Klempic, the Biden campaign seems to signal that Armenian votes do not matter as he is fighting to unseat President Trump."

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(Note: This segment is not an endorsement or anti-endorsement of a specific presidential candidate.) http://asbarez.com/195932/bidens-ethnic-engagement-director-has-ties-to-pro-erdogan-group/ Media wars & Mishik / L.A. Armenians accuse the former regime of sabotaging H1

H1 is one of very few, if not the only, TV network in Armenia that is more or less pro-Pashinyan (always leaning towards the government).

Now the Los Angeles Armenians say that U.S.-based PanArmenia media, which is linked to the former regime and Mikael Minasyan, is sabotaging H1's operations.

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They sent a letter to Pashinyan: there is a deliberate campaign to reduce H1 viewership. The local broadcasting license belongs to PanArmenian which must use SPECTRUM cable for broadcast.

PanArmenians violated this 5-year license and H1 was moved to antenna broadcast. That means people must have a rabbit antenna to watch H1.

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We assure you that it's done for political reasons. As you stated, Mishik stole media outlets from their real owners in the past, including Armenia TV.

H1 was removed and the slot was given to Armenia TV. They're trying to force-feed us distorted anti-govt propaganda.

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https://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/08/05/Հ1-ի-հեռարձակումը-սահմանափակվել-է-Լոս-Անջելեսում․-հեռուստաընկերությունը-սպասում-է-PanArmenian-TV-ի-պարզաբանմանը/391993

Tags: #Mishik #PanArmenian

Environmentalists vs Amulsar miner Lydian / Arbitration / Protests

The context in August 4th news.

Today the environmental activists sent a letter to Govt asking them to void the results of an environmental SHMAG assessment done in 2016.

They don't trust that the former govt has done a proper job, and believe the surrounding nature has physically changed in the past 4 years, making the 2016 report outdated. (that report was taken into account while doing another 2019 study)

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Amulsar miner Lydian: We removed illegal tents that were there for 2 years. Yesterday's events are concerning. The provocative activists were inciting things, threatening with bloodshed, and trying to convince locals to join them. Despite their efforts, the locals mostly stayed neutral. Several dozen activists joined from Yerevan.

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For 2 years, people are forced to tolerate these threats while the government refuses to protect their rights. It negatively affects Armenia's international reputation.

We will not negotiate with activists over things outside of the law. We will continue to fight for our rights to restore Armenia's largest investment project.

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Activist Levon Galstyan: Lydian hired aggressive armed guards last month. They're trying to incite conflict and get the activists in trouble to have them arrested. The govt has to come out of this numb state and stop the miner.

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Activist Nazeli Vardanyan: Lydian cannot launch an arbitration lawsuit against Armenia because the agreement signed between AM-UK-CA doesn't protect companies registered as offshore firms.

This is why in 2018 Lydian registered local offices in the UK and CA, so they can qualify for protection and sue Armenia.

They can apply for arbitration, but they have zero chance to win it, because they haven't even done any works on the mine.

This is why they desperately try to enter the mine, blow things up and pretend that they're operating, so they can have a legal case for arbitration.

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Random Jermuk residents: this should have been stopped looong ago, but they let it drag this long and now we have a mess........... Amulsar mining will destroy Armenia........... I'm a local, I oppose the mining, those who need a job can always find one; let them move to another country if they need wealth.

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More protests are expected today so police was deployed at the scene.

IND MP Babajanyan: the government is scared to act. Different groups within govt have different opinions on Amulsar. They're analyzing economic outcomes and threats of arbitration. The Parliament should have acted on the former regime's illegal actions, including around Amulsar.

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The activists arrived. The police warned that they're violating the COVID rules about safety. The police didn't insist and agreed to let the activists stay if they open the road.

An incident happened between a policeman and a protester. He was taken to a station. People began pushing each other.

Activist Levon Galstyan began pushing a cop and berating them for bringing "heavily armed" police forces instead of regular cops.

The police car allegedly ran over a protester's foot and broke it during the packed incident.

Activists want their tents to be moved to the original place. They were removed by Lydian yesterday. They held a sit-in.

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https://factor.am/274284.html , https://factor.am/274303.html , https://youtu.be/dWld9jcEqlw , https://youtu.be/tLlBgCAz29o , https://factor.am/274337.html , https://factor.am/274396.html , https://youtu.be/xHAKSu6ap4Y , https://factor.am/274372.html

Tags #Amulsar #LydianMiner

COVID stats

+1,848 tested (170,012). 7,738 active. +288 infected. +478 healed. +2 deaths.

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British-Armenian businessman George Dzavaryan, the co-founder of Augment Bionics, has donated 30k pieces of protective gear to fight COVID.

https://factor.am/274242.html

Bill Gates is back in the news, boiz

Anti-govt activists and conspiracy theorists created their own "alternative Yerevan municipality".

Today they accused Healthcare Minister Torosyan of trying to use Bill Gates' vaccines to try to make the population infertile.

They also accused govt members of breaking COVID rules.

https://youtu.be/APFapz_Emlo

COVID press conference / Emergency order / Schools

Pashinyan: for the first time since June the active cases are <8,000. The bad news is people began putting their guards down. We need to continue to follow safety.

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Healthcare Minister Torosyan: Every week we get 50-100 fewer cases. We have a real chance to bring it close to zero. Active serious cases went from 650 to 350 at any given time. 24 on lung vent, down from 55.

5 hospitals have stopped treating for COVID, with 2 more exiting soon.

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Emergency Coordinator Avinyan: the Emergency situation will extend by another month. We'll soon relax product export and travel restrictions. Protests will be allowed. We have a plan on how to reopen schools.

All this depends on how well we follow safety and keep the numbers low.

https://factor.am/274294.html , https://youtu.be/rL2g-fpTWHQ

Armenia and FIFA

Armenia joins FIFA's Talent Development project. They'll analyze the state of soccer facilities, help reveal talented players, etc.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024087.html

Food & Energy price changes compared to 2019 (in July)

Gasoline and diesel -30%

Food and alcohol +1.2%

Vegetables -5.4%

Fruits +34%

Dairy, eggs, cheese - 5%

Eggs -24%

Meat -1%

Sugar -4%

No significant change in bakery, oils, seafood, soft drinks.

All consumer prices +1.5%

http://arka.am/en/news/business/food_products_prices_in_armenia_grew_by_1_2_percent_in_2020_july_/ , http://arka.am/en/news/business/gasoline_and_diesel_fuel_prices_in_armenia_up_by_3_9_and_3_6_percent_respectively/

Yerevan to repair a downtown գետնանցում

The underground passage at St Lusavorich and Mashtots avenues will see a "major renovation" after it was recently "taken away" from a private ownership and made public, says the municipality.

It isn't just going to be a cleanup and lighting system.

http://arka.am/en/news/society/yerevan_municipality_to_repair_downtown_underground_passage_/

Radical education reforms to get rid of grading

Earlier we learned that the Edu. Min. was examining international practice about the downsides of the grading system for kids.

They decided to stop grading in 1-5 classes. No one will get an "unsatisfactory" grade.

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The following subjects will be mandatory: Armenian language, Foreign language, Armenian history, Math.

The Armenian Church subject will be merged with Armenian History for <5 classes.

The church opposes this decision, saying only 30% of the current curriculum will be taught.

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The higher classes will have a "modular system" for subjects, a "credit system", and online courses.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/283748/ , Foreign language

Armenian population increases

The permanent population has increased by 1,400 this year as of July, reaching 2.963m.

1.896m live in cities, 1.067m in rural.

https://www.lragir.am/2020/08/05/569321/

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You've read 1822 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/i4bixp/aug52020_news_population_grows_no_grades_in/

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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