2020 February 13
Feb/13/2020 -- Daily News Collection From Armenia -- Stay informed about the ongoing Constitutional Court crisis, Anti-Corruption Busts, Politics, Economy, Diaspora, Daily Life, and more...
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.
SPORTS NEWS FIRST
97KG wrestling legend Arthur Alexanyan is the European Champion. This is his 5th such title. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/180426
The competitor from Turkey, whom Aleksanyan defeated, presumably didn't want to touch Aleksanyan, so he asked the other player to stand between him and Aleksanyan during the photoshoot: https://youtu.be/RZTtBEaNPqU?t=1088
Meanwhile, the Azeri fans turned their back on the Armenian flag while it rose during the anthem. 🤣 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180491
Parliament honored Aleksanyan with a round of applause during today's session. "Let's not forget that we have 2 champions today," reminded one MP. https://youtu.be/B_j6YNOwcVM
Here is Arthur vs Italian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKTj1byw57o
Gharibyan vs Turkish guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLWfeskasuOjDtJmHsBmb8qhh73rWqZKgk&v=1UO30j-DfBY
CHILD TRAFFICKING BILL
The govt approved a bill (still needs Parliament) to make it a felony to convince or force a parent to abandon their child, through fraud, lying, or abusing trust. Punishable between 200k fine and 4 yrs in prison. If it's done by a group of officials in power, up to 8 yrs in prison.
Context: NSS earlier busted a 2016-2018 child trafficking ring operating in Yerevan child clinics & centers. They defrauded parents, took away the kids, and gave them for adoption to foreigners. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180452 CHILD CLINIC ABUSE STORY
Prosecutors launched a new felony case alleging child-swapping after birth.
Photos of the newborn child were taken. Later, doctors presented a dead child and told the parents their child had died. However, the pics of the dead child did not match their newborn child, per forensics. Parents claim their healthy child was taken away.
The incident happened ~2017, around the time when the big child trafficking story was happening. At the time, the former prosecutors dropped this particular investigation. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180461 SMOKING BAN
The Parliament is discussing govt's smoking restrictions bill for second and final approval. Some amendments were made. Smoking in closed public areas will be banned.
Another amendment will ban smoking in all public food facilities (thank you!). "Second-hand smoking is a big issue in public places and offices where people smoke cigarettes and hookah," said an MP. "Other tobacco products also cause cancer," added a govt member, "the electronic cigarettes must be regulated the same way as traditional cigarettes."
QP MP: the govt ignored our proposals. This bill is flawed because it's too strict on banning the production of "tobacco-like" substances without clarification.
QP MP: let's dedicate 1/20th of the cigarette taxes to veteran care.
a LHK and a QP MP: the bill, in its current form, could harm businesses. The tobacco industry paid 120bln in taxes in 2019. If you want Universal Healthcare, wouldn't you need the money?
QP MP: we shouldn't ignore the businesses, but we should put the public's health first. I support the restrictions.
BHK MP: I like this bill because our proposals were accepted. Moreover, the authors agreed that Armenia should ask EAEU bloc states to create universal packaging for cigarettes. We should also restrict the advertisement of smoking in movies produced in Armenia.
LHK MP: the bill will harm the business. It copies the Australian law of requiring manufacturers to use white packaging, without taking into account its impact on competition under Armenian conditions. We shouldn't harm the #1 taxpayer. World experience says that the best way to reduce smoking is by increasing wages and disposable income. These types of bills shouldn't pass in small countries like Armenia, where the #1 taxpayer in the tobacco industry.
Parliament voted 76-16-7 to approve the bill. LHK voted against. QP agreed to hear arguments for possible amendments.
https://youtu.be/YB8LnavOL0Y https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180462 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180465 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180470 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180492 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180505 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1004777.html https://youtu.be/AmvPDkA9vjo https://youtu.be/uwOHOsdSmDU
LICENSE PLACE LAW
QP MP proposed amending the traffic law to reduce the punishment for drivers who have only 1 of the license plates missing. Right now there is a 1-year license ban if one of the places is missing.
"Sometimes 1 license plate can miss because of clumsiness, but when both are missing it's possible that the driver wanted to commit crimes," said MP, who proposed 1 missing plate to be punished with 20k fine and 2pts on record, instead of a 1-year ban.
BHK proposed just a 20k fine. QP thought 2pts are necessary to deduct.
Parliament passed QP's version with a 92-12-2 vote.
Parliament approved Civil Aviation's proposal to ratify the 2018 agreement with Jordan to create equal conditions for each others' airlines, reform pricing, flight frequency, safety. This ratification could result in regular flights between AM-JO. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180507
Civil Aviation chief Revazyan says the traffic between L.A.-Armenia isn't big enough to have direct flights 3 times a week, which is what would make it profitable for airlines. They're currently negotiating with Georgia to have a L.A.-Georgia-Armenia route. https://youtu.be/TQgrn-xluUs
The govt has a draft bill to change the way political parties are financed from the budget. Currently, any party that received >3% of the votes gets some cash. The bigger the % the higher the payout. The proposed amendment will be published soon.
"The institute of political parties should strengthen. Younger citizens should be more actively participate," said 1st deputy PM Avinyan.
https://hetq.am/hy/article/113263 DOG ABUSE LAWS
The Parliament earlier passed a bipartisan bill to ban the shooting and cruelty of dogs. Sounds good, but Vanadzor residents now complain about increased instances of dog attacks. The govt says there were 16 dog bites this year in Vanadzor (I don't have old numbers to compare to see if it actually rose, or it's public's placebo).
Vanadzor city says they used to dedicate 4mln/yr on dog shootings, with AMD 2k per call. Now it's 10mln/yr for catching doggies for balls ✂ chop-chop ✂. The problem is, this new program hasn't launched yet, so there is a time gap in which nothing is being done.
LHK MP says after the dog shooting ban, the city stopped doing it, but now residents began to "fill the void" by shooting the stray dogs. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180485 EGG PRICES DOWN -- INVESTIGATING
Economic Competition Commission chief says they're investigating the plummeting of egg prices. They don't believe it's due to a massive rise in imports. It's likely done by a local manufacturer's over-producing (how do you convince chicken to lay more eggs? 🤔). The Commission is investigating the large producers. (When the prices are too low it turns the small producers.) https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180458 ANTI-COMPETITIVE TACTICS IN SUGAR BUSINESS
The Economic Competition Commission is also investigating the sugar market (earlier they reported more competition and lower prices).
The Commission found predatory pricing in a supermarket chain that is selling sugar below its production cost. An anti-competition investigation has been launched.
The Commission is also investigating wheat, flour, media ads, eggs.
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180468 THE "NO" CAMPAIGN
Former HHK deputy-Justice Minister Ruben Melikyan says his attorney allies and him will lead the NO campaign because "none of the Parliamentary parties chose to". (LHK ragequit, BHK legally can't do it). "We'll make sure the public hears the argument against the Referendum. We'll observe that voting is held properly."
ARF is urging the public to essentially vote NO by not participating in the April 5th referendum, to rebuke the "populist Pashinyan administration". (Մի հատ հավեսով տռաձիցիոնալ քֆուր դիր վոր հանկարծ Այո ✔ չքվեարկեն)
Report says: The former chief of an Armavir police department, who is currently in IRS, embezzled 46mln between 2013-2018. He instructed some some payments by residents to be collected in cash so he could then steal it.
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180520 SERJ'S BODYGUARD UPDATE
Serj's bodyguard Vachagan Ghazaryan was arrested in 2018 and charged with 2 felonies: One about money laundering, another for a commercial fraud allegation by a company he worked for.
The prosecutors dropped the commercial dispute charges. He's still facing the unrelated money laundering charges. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1004797.html CRIMINAL SUBCULTURE
More members of the criminal subculture were arrested today in Armavir. Guns and drugs were found. https://youtu.be/NIPxj3oUvvc
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180502 PASHINYAN IN GERMANY
PM flew and met the German Parliament chief. The latter said they support the ongoing justice reforms.
PM's office dismissed social media rumors that the govt is paying ~$900 per night per delegation member, saying their stay is funded by Germany.
Pashinyan met Angela Merkel, spoke about EU-AM cooperation, reforms. Merkel spoke about her Armenia visit, TUMO center, German-Armenian business forum, peacekeeping in Afghanistan.
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180475 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180497 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180506 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180510 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180522 DRAPER UNIVERSITY
The govt earlier decided to sent dozens of aspiring entrepreneurs to study in the famous tech/engineering Draper University of California.
Draper University reps visited Armenia and met High Tech Minister Arshakyan, spoke about the possibility of opening a Draper University branch in Armenia and using the country as a regional tech hub. They spoke about Armenia's engineering practice, etc.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1004878.html ARMENIAN GENOCIDE & SYRIA
The Syrian Parliament unanimously recognized the Armenian Genocide. >30 Parliaments around the world have done so. Lebanon is the other Arab country that recognized it. Syria's recognition comes amid Turkish-Syrian military clashes on the northern parts of Syria.
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180488 GENOCIDE PAPERS MISSING IN TURKEY
Turkish historian Taner Akcam says the Turkish govt is hiding some documents that prove the Turkish govt's role in the Armenian Genocide. "These docs were used by the Turkish military prosecution to convict people during the 1919 trials," said Akcam.
OPEN UP THE ARCHIVES!
www.1lurer.am/hy/2020/02/13/Թուրքիան-ամեն-օր-է-թաքցնում-Հայոց-ցեղասպանության-վկայությունները-Թաներ-Աքչամ/190559 PIPELINE EXPLODES
A landslide from the nearby hill caused the main water pipeline in Vanadzor to explode, flooding the nearby road: https://youtu.be/RnQtb34mm88
They produce khachqar. PICS & story: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180390 HAPPY VALENTINE
Gyumri residents and the church prepared for tomorrow's Armenian Valentine's Day by lighting a "trndez" bush on fire. Can you jump over this one? https://youtu.be/zVJ2lf6lax4
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180530 CAT vs DOG
DISTANT KAZAKH COUSINS
Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev's grandson Aysultan went rogue and said he knows all the "corrupt dealings" between Kazakhstan and Russia, around Gazprom gas trade, that have "stolen billions from Kazakh people."
He says the $1.5bln/yr profit is channeled to Singapore, where a high ranking Russian official and Gazprom split the money. In Kazakhstan, two officials split $700mln/yr.
"I've been a subject of great pressure in the past 5 years. My family, at the head of the country, believes they are gods. But they don't realize that if the public unites, their end will be near."
He also spoke about the excessive love towards money by his mother and her 2nd husband.
He asked the UK for asylum. He's afraid of being assassinated "like his legal father Rahat Aliyev."
He also claims that his recent year-long disappearance was due to him being held captive in Russia under the influence of drugs administered on purpose, under the instructions of his own mother who -- according to Aisultan -- is involved in these corrupt dealings and drove a wedge between him and his grandfather Nursultan.
Now THAT's what I call a real bolola.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/f3hwos/feb132020_daily_news_collection_from_armenia_stay/
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