2020 December 8

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Contents

Daily news and anti-corruption report

Dec/8/2020 news wrap-up: \\ recycle culture: Yerevan begins sorting trash \\ traffic incidents down; new bill \\ IRS to simplify online taxes \\ aid for refugees; Artsakh transport resumes \\ hero soldiers \\ anti & pro Pashinyan demonstrations \\ corruption investigations \\ POWs \\ foreign affairs
by ar_david_hh


Your 10-minute Tuesday report in 2467 words.

Yerevan installs separate bins for recycling

Mayor Hayk Marutyan wants you to throw recyclables in the appropriate bin. Չանողը շան տղայա, քֆուրա դրած ապեր you know you have no choice now.

Ajapnyak and Davtashen will be the first districts to have the yellow (paper), black (glass), and blue (plastic) bins next to the regular trash. They will be installed in 16 locations by the city's Green Department for now.

"This will allow our population to gradually assimilate the culture of sorting garbage, separate it at home, and dump it in the bins near the apartment," said Mayor Marutyan.

Photos: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037077.html

traffic incidents decease / points-based ticket system

The govt had earlier passed a law to reform traffic violation rules beginning in 2020. Drivers have 9 points to waste each year. The most serious violations such as being heavily drunk will result in an instant suspension, while minor infractions will deduct 0.5-3 points.

Police spokesman: we had 2855 incidents in the first 9 months of this year, down from 3443 from last year (-17%). One of the reasons is the points-based system. [another one might be COVID?]

We used speedometers and cameras in conjunction with the points-based system to encourage the reduction of speeding violations. These technologies recorded 985,000 infractions, compared to over 1 million last year.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037064.html

ticketed for smoking WHILE driving / other changes

Besides in public transport, you could receive a $15 ticket and 1 point on your record if you smoke and drive your personal car. The govt [police, more specifically] introduced a new bill for discussions.

The bill also closes loopholes in situations when the driver commits other infractions but wasn't allowed to drive to begin with.

The bill delays the process of road policemen manually issuing points until mid-2022. Until then, it's only cameras that give you a point.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037065.html

Property Registrar: do it online instead of calling or visiting

Parliament discussed a Govt bill to reduce the fees for certain services related to property registration. It also "makes reforms to simplify the process of property registration, finding information more easily, more online services, reduce the need for human-to-human contact, etc."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037066.html

more IRS services will become available online

IRS wants you to file taxes more easily by making simplifications to the tax calculations and payment process. More flexibility when it comes to the payment deadline. The business community had an input in the reforms.

Since the government has a plan to establish the culture of paying taxes in Armenia, the IRS will have a new simplified online platform for ordinary taxpayers, where they can do multiple activities related to customs import, income, and property taxes.

More details: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037137.html

get paid for being a geek

A new scholarship order was established recently to encourage students. It pays those who win Olympiads or make it to the final rounds. The student can qualify for multiple benefits simultaneously. It ranges from $10 to $50 per month, for a year.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037121.html

pilot program to aid Artsakh refugees

Syunik's Goris city accepted 10,500 refugees from Artsakh. The city will have a new pilot program to help women find work. They'll be retrained to work in bakeries and sewing factories. The first recipients of the goodies will be fellow refugees.

More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037036.html

refugees continue to return their homes

1,126 yesterday alone. Russian peacekeepers have accompanied 36,000 repatriates through Lachin road so far. Many others had returned through Qarvachar road earlier.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037143.html

transport link between Artsakh capital and regions

... has been restored. Stepanakert Central Bus Station director says they are working around the clock to help a large number of passengers to move from the capital to other areas of Artsakh.

Stepanakert-Martakert ticket went from $1.5 to $2 because the route is longer now because an area in between them went under Azeri control.

The Stepanakert-Mokhratag (north-east) travel time went from 40m to 120m because they have to go around the new border.

Stepanakert-Yerevan costs $9. The other way is free.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037157.html

soldiers return homes for a 10-day vacation

They were met with applause by families gathered near the military office. A Medal of Courage recipient spoke about his service near Jabrayil and Shushi. He is a conscript who was in the army for a year when the war began. He shot a tank on the second day.

[Where is /u/AregP

? He was drafted last year. Requesting backup.]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037151.html

wounded soldiers receiving physical therapy

Their stories:

https://youtu.be/Lz7uv0ekYfA?t=57

army awards soldiers for acts of heroism

Lt. Saghatelyan used a 120mm grenade launcher to destroy 3 tanks, vehicles, and personnel.

Private Galoyan stopped the enemy advance and evacuated wounded comrades.

Lt. Melikyan destroyed 6 tanks and 4 command outposts.

Dozens of others in the link: https://factor.am/318635.html

Artsakh president met representatives

... of two tech companies to discuss investments and development of high-tech in Artsakh. "The government is developing new directions for economic development, where the technology sector will play a key role."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037068.html

Armenian and German experts discuss anti-laundering

Investigative Committee (IC) agents met German experts from the international IRZ agency to discuss the recovery of stolen cash that's often laundered abroad. IC chief Khachatryan says this is relevant to the ongoing fight against corruption in Armenia, part of which was the approval of an asset forfeiture law aimed at former/current/future public officials.

IRZ experts shared their experience of restoring laundered cash with the help of foreign agencies.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037083.html

Constitutional Court won't discuss Tsarukyan's case

The Corruption Prevention Committee (CPC) had earlier asked Parliament to take action against opposition BHK leader Tsarukyan. He is accused of running businesses (Multi Group, etc.) while simultaneously being an MP, which would be against the "conflict of interest" law.

The Parliament approved the petition and decided to ask the Constitutional Court to hold a discussion about stripping Tsarukyan's MP mandate. Today the Constitutional Court rejected to hear the case. The detailed reason will be available soon.

The CPC president had earlier said Constitutional Court's role is "symbolic", so it's unclear what this rejection means for Tsarukyan's "conflict of interest" investigation.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037148.html

Corruption Prevention Committee investigated Healthcare Minister

... and didn't find a conflict of interests. Minister Torosyan's wife manages a clinic "MIPS" which was one of the many clinics that qualified for government subsidies to provide free healthcare to patients. The opposition suspected there could be a conflict of interest. CPC found that there was no personal benefit from the government subsidy to the hospital.

How did CPC's four board members vote?

Opposition LHK-appointee: yes conflict

Opposition BHK-appointee: no conflict

Ruling QP-appointee: no conflict

Judicial Branch-appointee: no conflict

https://factor.am/318330.html

https://factor.am/315241.html

update: Serj's leaked audio convo with Kuklashenko about seven regions & $6 billion

... happened in October 2016 in Yerevan, and not in 2018 as I reported yesterday. Serj has confirmed the authenticity of the tape in which he states he was against giving 7 regions to Aliyev (presumably Lavrov's Plan) for security reasons. "It is unclear how the conversation, which was not meant to be published, ended up in the hands of media," said his office.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037062.html

LHK chief Marukyan believes the leaked audio must become part of the investigation of the proposed investigative committee that will investigate how the war was handled and the diplomacy before/during it.

"I don't think the $6 billion offered to Serj was a bribe but he needs to clarify the details," said Marukyan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037073.html

Kocharyan & Co trial is delayed again

One of the defendants' lawyers was a no-show. The next trial is on December 15th.

Context: Robert Kocharyan & Co-defendants are accused of toppling the Constitutional order by bringing the army against civilian protesters in 2008 before an emergency order was issued. The events took place in February-March. It ended with the deaths of a dozen people. Kocharyan is also facing large-scale financial corruption charges. A famous businesswoman came forward and claimed she had to transfer millions of dollars in bribes to Kocharyan's chief of staff so she could continue her mining operations.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037097.html

opposition demonstrations / streets closed / demands Pashinyan's resignation

The police asked people to open the roads after a group of protesters, led by ARF and other members of 16 opposition parties, began shutting down streets in Yerevan. The deadline has passed. Pashinyan hasn't resigned. The opposition will hold country-wide acts of disobedience.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037042.html

Catholicos Garegin B met all political sides and urged for unity in Armenia. He called for everyone to follow the Constitution. He advised Pashinyan "like a father" to resign to calm the situation. Aram A joined Garegin B.

Ruling QP MP Hovakimyan criticized the church leadership for "meddling in politics". He added, "When the government was hijacked years ago and they were plundering the country on daily basis, the church leadership was silent on politics. I feel sorrow as a follower of the church."

Opposition MP [non-former regime] Arman Babajanyan said, "Instead of joining the 17 opposition parties, the church leadership should have formed an agenda for reconciliation. The church made no calls for resignations after October 27th, March 1st, and 2004 April 13th. You lack the ability to save the reputation of the church, Your Holiness."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037086.html , https://youtu.be/RCALPbJmYfY?t=7 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202474 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202488

ARF Gegham Manukyan was detained while shutting down a street. The demonstrators used a truck to close Myasnikyan street, and tried to shut down Abovyan-Moskovyan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037095.html

FIP reporters traveled across Yerevan and saw very few activists shutting down the streets. The city wasn't "paralyzed" as claimed by some, says the outlet.

https://fip.am/14157

The activists shut down the Yerevan metro for two hours. The opposition ended the demonstrations at 5 pm. 90 activists were detained today; the HR Ombudsman says there were no complaints of mistreatment under detention but some detainees complained about excessive force while they were being detained. A force was applied against an underage demonstrator, too.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037101.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037112.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037114.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037120.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202505 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202529

a group of Pashinyan supporters gathered in front of govt building

"Ask the opposition if they will repeal the November 9th document and they will say no, <<but let us be the ones to negotiate>>. You had the opportunity to negotiate for 30 years, you have negotiated the handover of 7 districts, you have negotiated from a losing position. Pashinyan inherited a document in which it is written that he must return 7 districts," said a demonstrator.

"With Pashinyan's resignation, the situation in the country will become more unstable," said another.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037138.html

A wounded soldier was present. He supported PM's decision to stop the war on the 9th, saying otherwise his division near Mataghis would have been encircled. "Things were normal. We just had a shortage of volunteers there. As I can tell now, many of them stayed home then came out to the streets later." [likely referring to anti-Pashinyan rioters on November 9th.]

https://youtu.be/NjImOBabqUI , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202483

diplomatic meetings

Pashinyan and HR Ombudsman met the US ambassador to discuss the conflict. The US ambassador emphasized the importance to hold accountable those who mistreat POWs.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037131.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202523

President Sarkissian sent a letter to Putin asking for help to mediate the process of border demarcation with Azerbaijan to avoid disputes and potential future escalations.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037134.html

Presidents Sarkissian and Sargsyan held a meeting.

https://factor.am/318427.html

There were meetings between MFAs of Armenia, France, and Italy.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202510 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202528

you're out / you're in

Two QP members took the oath to become Parliament MPs to replace two MPs who had resigned earlier.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037050.html

QP MP Aram Khachatryan has resigned. He will receive an unspecified position in the government cabinet.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037150.html

Syunik's deputy-governor Melikset Poghosyan is the new governor.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037152.html

Armavir deputy-governor Karen Grigoryan is out.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037153.html

POWs and soldiers

The MoD presented a new bill. It will declare missing soldiers as POWs and continue to wire salaries to their bank accounts unless there is evidence they are deceased or deserted.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037126.html

The European Court for Human Rights instructed Azerbaijan to allow Armenian POWs to contact their families. Most of them have already made phone calls.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037054.html

Pashinyan held a discussion about the work done by the 1000Plus soldiers' insurance foundation. "Today we must discuss the road map of the fund's future activities, understand what the government has to do here, what the Central Bank has to do, what issues we need to solve in the near future." Foundation's director provided a report on works they've done to increase donations to the fund in addition to the mandatory 1000-Dram collections.

https://www.1000plus.am

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037099.html

Parliament passed a resolution to send a message to international institutes calling for them to pressure Azerbaijan to repatriate Armenian POWs without delays and to end their inhumane treatment. It cites several international conventions violated by Azerbaijan.

Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037116.html

Genocide recognition

Denmark's PACE delegation leader Lars Rasmussen visited Armenia and emphasized the importance for the Danish govt to recognize the Genocide of Armenians and Yezidis.

He met the ethnic Yezidi MP Rustam Bakoyan. They spoke about Yezidis' life in Armenia and topics related to language and religion. "We are the largest ethnic minority in Armenia. Armenia is the only country in the world where Yezidis have the opportunity to learn their mother language in schools," said Bakoyan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037048.html

Artsakh Republic's official recognition by France

... is something that the French Socialist Party will try to achieve, said the party representative during a visit to Stepanakert. President Arayik thanked them for unanimously supporting the recognition of Artsakh in the French Senate and Assembly.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037069.html

regional kerfuffle

The UN General Assembly approved a resolution (63y-17n-62a) about Crimea, urging Russia to withdraw from the peninsula, which the international community accepts as part of Ukraine.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037057.html

The Turkish regime has arrested 198 more soldiers. They're accused of being allied to Darth Vader. The purge began after the 2016 "coup" which led to the arrest of 80,000 people and the firing of 150,000 public workers.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037060.html

COVID stats

+2302 tested. +584 infected. +28 deaths. +1498 healed. 20812 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037063.html

flu season is approaching

Acute respiratory infections are up by 1.5x this week. 1.7x among kids. HealthMin wants you to visit a clinic and get vaccinated now.

https://factor.am/318703.html

big bird caught on camera

It's a rare mountain vulture that's in the Red Book.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=3640113876077011

infrastructure & road repairs

The 3km section that leads to Makaravanq monastery is fully renovated for the first time.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202442

Yervandashat has a new preschool building for 45 kids as part of a govt subsidy program.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202524

Building repairs continue in Stepanakert. A multi-story complex roof was repaired. The windows are being changed.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202522

you can help Artsakh & Armenia

www.1000plus.am (soldiers' medical help)

www.HimnaDram.org (for Artsakh & Armenia)

www.ArmeniaFund.org (U.S. tax-deductible)

archive of older posts

Yesterday: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/k8rgbe/dec572020_wrapup_kapan_airport_pashinyan_speech/?

Armeniapedia's archive of daily news threads:

http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Daily_Anti-Corruption_Reports


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/k9dgx6/dec82020_news_wrapup_recycle_culture_yerevan/

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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