2020 February 17
Feb/17/2020 -- 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.
WHAT HAPPENED IN KHOJALI? / RUSSIAN JOURNALIST's ACCOUNTS / PASHINYAN vs ALIYEV
World leaders gathered to talk security in Munich. PM Pashinyan, President Sarkissian, and MFA Mnatsakanyan met various security officials, also leaders of other nations such as Northern Macedonia, to talk business. Sarkissian gave a talk. Pashinyan butchered the audience with his poor English for several hours.
A debate was held between Pashinyan and Ilham Aliyev. It was basically "this is mine" vs "no, it's mine", and "y u kill my people" vs "no U kill my people, and why u don't negotiate with Artsakh?".
It was revealed that 1 Azeri soldier was killed and 1 Armenian wounded in the north-eastern border region recently.
Robert Kocharyan commented: the Armenian nation has already solved the Karabakh issue. The only purpose of negotiations now is to make it de-jure.
At one point Aliyev brought up Khojalu deaths, and Pashinyan cited Azeri president Ayaz Mutallibov's words that put some of the blame on Azeri militias. Aliyev denied this. Then the Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta journalist Dana Mazalova, who took the interview with President Mutallibov, came forward and confirmed that Pashinyan was correct.
The Russian journalist said she met an Azeri journalist Chingiz Mustafayev in Kislovodsk, Russia and with the help of his first-hand accounts and videotapes, she learned how Azeri militias were purposely physically incapacitating locals so they wouldn't be able to escape. She then brought this up during an interview with President Ayaz Mutallibov but without citing the journalist Chingiz to protect his identity. Chingiz was then murdered a few months later [by Azeri agents].
The Russian journalist continues, "Chingiz told me about another terrible event, which was recorded by OSCE's monitors themselves in 1992. The Khojalu events happened in late-February. Civilian bodies were discovered in front of Azeri Popular Front militia's positions, as confirmed by Chiginz's videos in Feb-28. Another recording made a few days later on March 2nd showed that the bodies [which weren't mutilated in initial videotape] were mutilated, skinned, and moved [by Azeri Popular Front militias]. I feel guilty for not duplicating the videocassette. Till this day my consciousness is tearing me apart. These events were the reason we had an interview with President Mutallibov."
Mutallibov https://armtimes.com/hy/article/180801 --- Mutallibov https://fip.am/10480 --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180658 --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180662 --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180669 --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180677 --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180698 --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180705 --- http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/277992/ CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REFERENDUM
The CC referendum propaganda period begins today. YES and NO campaigns will start to convince the population to vote Yes or No. Pashinyan asked social media users to design a logo for the YES campaign. QP held a meeting today and decided that Pashinyan will be among the team of 44 QP MPs who will actively participate in the propaganda.
The NO campaign might be led by former HHK members because none of the current opposition parties wanted/can do it for various reasons.
HHK was accused of hijacking the CC in 2018 by forging docs to accelerate the appointment of their fellow HHK MP Hrayr Tovmasyan as CC judge and chief. A felony case was launched against speaker HHK MP Ara Babloyan and Parliamentary Legal committee chief Arsen Babayan.
The SIS and Prosecutors are currently debating whether to charge them with aiding to illegally occupy CC (high severity), or abuse of power (lesser severity).
SIS investigators want the harsher charges, while the Prosecutors want to build their court case with the milder charges. SIS is now bringing counter-arguments. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/180778 COMPLAINTS AGAINST CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
What do CC critics say in their complaints?
1) CC recently decided that the Supreme Court, whose main job is to punish or protect judges, does not have the right to fire judges for serious violations (unless multiple violations are made in a given period). Critics say this decision severely limits the purpose of Supremes, and damages the upcoming judicial reforms that envision judicial vetting and firings.
2) The law, that would allow judges to be fired, that CC chief Hrayr Tovmasyan found to be unconstitutional, was reviewed and passed by Hrayr Tovmasyan himself in 2018 while he was HHK's legal chief. Critics say Hrayr Tovmasyan "passed" a law then found his own law to be unconstitutional when it began being enforced.
3) CC chief Hrayr Tovmasyan is highly politicized and was appointed as CC judge and chief illegally after documents were forged in 2018.
4) 7 out of 9 CC judges are "above others" with longer term limits.
5) Before going nuclear and deciding to fire 7 out of 9 judges, last year the Parliament voted to ask the CC to hear their grievances about CC chief Hrayr Tovmasyan and to launch an internal hearing about his questionable past and present activities. CC flat-out refused to even hear the case and rejected Parliament's plea.
Tag: #ConstitutionalCourt POLICE INTERROGATION ROOMS
Last year the police announced plans to install cameras in questioning rooms to reduce possible abuse, among other things.
The Central branch has a newly renovated room equipped with cameras and one-way see-through mirrors for questioning sexual assault victims. The project will be expanded with the help of Armenian and French NGOs.
YEREVAN OFFICIAL BUSTED
Factor outlet writes that the chief of Yerevan's Ajapnyak district was forced to resign for aiding an illegal construction.
Last year city's inspectors found a construction violation by "Jermuki Noro" businessman, but the district chief purged the findings and fired the inspector.
The violation document was also sent to Yerevan headquarters, who found out about this incident and contacted the police. The [improperly] fired inspector and the district chief were questioned. A felony case is launched about the alleged coverup.
https://factor.am/222248.html FORMER YEREVAN OFFICIAL BUSTED
The police say they busted the former head of Yerevan's Erebuni district with 25mln in damages to the state. He's accused of befriending a construction firm that violated some rules and giving it a city-owned property for free.
https://factor.am/221850.html SCHOOL EMBEZZLEMENT
Tlik's mayor's wife is accused of receiving salary funds from a local school since 2015 despite not being a real employee.
https://hetq.am/hy/article/113417 MAYOR PENALIZED FOR FOREST ABUSE
Tatev mayor was issued a 150k fine for authorizing illegal construction on nearby forest land that was leased to a businessman for a cheap price. Inspectors contacted the governor to measure the damage to nature.
https://hetq.am/hy/article/113421 FALSE POLICE REPORT CHARGES
Former regime's activist Narek Sargsyan was asked to appear in SIS to answer questions about a felony report.
He was charged with 333.1, providing a false report about a crime, punishable between 200k fine or 2yr prison.
Last year he wrote a post on Facebook and claimed that PM Pashinyan went to a restaurant and bought expensive black caviar for $3,000/kg. PM then allegedly sent people to buy another kilo but this time with a bank transfer instead of cash, and when the restaurant owner asked $5,000/kg, PM ordered the restaurant to be punished for raising the price.
The SIS (Special Investigative Services) at the time launched an investigation because a crime was reported involving a high ranking official (Pashinyan). Samsonyan was invited to give more info. SIS claims he knowingly provided a made-up report to the law enforcement during the investigation.
A felony case is launched. He is told not to leave the country.
Samsonyan believes he is a subject of "political persecution by the authoritarian Pashinyan regime."
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180671 --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180684 --- https://www.arlis.am/DocumentView.aspx?docid=69646 --- https://www.panorama.am/en/news/2020/02/15/Narek-Samsonyan-Adekvad-member/2240160 SERJ's BODYGUARD's MONEY
Update: The felony case against Serj's bodyguard Vachagan Ghazaryan was dropped, as mandated by law, because he returned the 2.8 billion. He was accused of aiding 7 businesses to commit tax evasion.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/180783 SERJ's NEPHEW
The court approved to extend Franklin Gonzalez's (Narek Sargsyan) pre-trial detention for another 2 months. He was recently extradited from Czechia after trying to board a plane somewhere with a fake Guatemalan passport and name. He's charged with obtaining, keeping and distributing guns, explosives, narcotics.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/180786 CAUGHT WHILE DUMPING
Yerevan police say they caught 20 trucks belonging to ML Mining firm (owned by law enforcement agent) during an attempt to illegally dump construction waste in "Korea gorge". The miner will be issued a fine, and they're possibly facing revocation of their construction license.
Yerevan's Shengavit district manager contacted the police to inform that some of his district's preschools used disappearing ink to log the food purchase records. A felony case was launched. Police found 5 such preschools. The investigation continues.
--- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/180776 EUROPEAN CHAMPION's MEDAL GOES TO...
Wrestler Arthur Aleksanyan won European gold last week. He gave it to famous sports anchor Karen Giloyan, "as promised". When he won his first gold in 2012, he promised that the 5th gold will be dedicated to Giloyan. This was his 5th victory.
When asked to comment about Turkish fans turning their backs on Aleksanyan during the Armenian anthem he said, "I don't care if they turned their back as long as they heard the Armenian anthem for longer than the Turkish anthem."
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180799 MEDALS STILL COMING
2 Armenian Greco-Roman wrestlers earlier became European Champions. 61KG Arsen Harutyunyan also won bronze. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1005141.html STONK POPULATION GROWS 📈
The stork birds (aragil) faced a crisis in 2019. Under unknown circumstances, some գյամշ dumbed large quantities of oil in a river. This resulted in storks becoming covered in deadly oil in multiple provinces.
The good news is, the population (1024) that meets winter in Armenia, has been rising (vs 958). Experts say this is because of more fish waste available near landfills. The stonks that were covered in oil ended up getting rid of it through their natural molting process. https://hetq.am/hy/article/113360 RESERVES TO BE DRAFTED
The army will draft 374 reservists for 3 months to teach them how to use new weapons that were purchased recently. "It's necessary to keep them sharp." https://hetq.am/hy/article/113379 ARMY NON-COMBAT DEATHS
Non-combat death tall is high this year after a series of accidents involving snow avalanches, car accidents, suicides.
Pashinyan, Defense Minister and other held meetings to discuss ways to reduce accidents. Pashinyan urged to expand the fight against the criminal subculture mindset in the army to improve discipline.
13 soldiers have died since January. The 4 were a result of freak accidents (like an avalanche), 4 were un-related to military (health conditions), and 5 were service-related which prompted the initiation of felony cases (driving someone to suicide). The army urges the public "not to spread misinformation by claiming all the deaths were service-related."
The upcoming Education Ministry reforms will teach schoolkids how to handle and de-escalate conflicts, and to be more tolerant. Experts advise public figures to more actively reach out to youngsters and encourage tolerance. "A study done by Europe in 2013 showed that Armenian youth aged 13-15 were the most prone to be involved in fights."
Last year the govt introduced an insurance system for farmers against natural damage to crops. Only 200 farmers have signed up so far. The govt decided to add 10 additional types of crops covered by the insurance.
http://arka.am/en/news/business/armenia_will_expand_agricultural_insurance_program_to_embrace_10_more_crops_until_2024/ --- http://arka.am/en/news/business/so_far_only_200_farmers_in_armenia_have_purchased_agricultural_insurance_policies/ CAUGHT WHILE SETTING ON FIRE
A Florida Yerevan man was seen on CCTV pouring fuel and setting the public garbage bin on fire. A nearby security officer noticed and poured a bucket of water. The police have launched an investigation to find the man.
The city recently began to witness more similar incidents after it purchased more plastic bins to solve the garbage crisis.
--- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1005169.html STUDENT COUNCIL AT MINISTRY
Education Minister Arayik Harutyunyan earlier said they'll create a Student Council consisted of school kids to act as Minister's advisers after students asked him to do so.
The rules are formed. 40 students from 8-11 classes, who are members of student councils in their respective schools, have active participation in student issues, at least 1 representative from ethnic minorities, at least 1 special needs school representative, will be picked by the Ministry to be included in the new Student Council.
At least 2 meetings per year. Council will discuss and vote on some topics. Students who miss the meeting 3 times will get expelled from Council (lol).
TAKE A SEAT, YOUNG SKYWALKER!
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/180499 FLU IN SCHOOLS
Normally, if school kids miss 120 hours, they have to take an extra exam to proceed to next year.
Education Ministry will pardon the school absence between Jan-Feb because of the flu season. No doctor's note required. An extra month of a pardon if there is a doctor's note.
The Healthcare Ministry advised this, so the sick kids won't feel pressured to attend school and infect others.
"There is no need to shut down schools."
The flu is subsiding down. Hospital visits are down 1.2-1.4x vs last week. 70% of those hospitalized are kids. The Healthcare Ministry advises vaccination.
7.1% of school kids are sick with the flu.
Last week the Parliament passed the Healthcare Ministry's bill to severely restrict smoking in public areas. While most of the bill will go into effect in 2022, and fully in 2024, smoking in the following areas will be banned this year: hospitality centers, shopping malls, work offices (private/public), army barracks (unless in designated areas).
What's the penalty for violating the smoking ban?
800k for illegal direct advertising.
800k for illegal non-direct advertising, such as sneaking cigarettes in other product ads.
200k for displaying cigarettes, their images, or empty boxes on a visible shelf in stores.
200k if a broadcaster doesn't verbally notify about smoking dangers.
200k for under-18 involvement.
The penalty doubles if the offense is repeated within 6 months.
~90 new cancer diagnosis are made among Armenian children each year. 75% of them defeat the disease with treatment.
In 2019 the Healthcare Ministry purchased 14 different types of chemotherapy drugs for Children's Cancer and Blood Disease Center. In 2020 they plan to expand the selection to 25. They're free for children.
There are also charity foundations that help kids: City of Smile, Ognem, Health Bridge, Fond 100, etc. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180655 CESAREAN DELIVERY IN ARMENIA
250 kids are born per minute around the world. 800 mothers die during birth every day. The deaths have been reducing.
Cesarean delivery (belly cut) is done to reduce deaths, but only if advised by doctors. Ideally, no more than 15% of births should be cesarean. However, its % has been unnecessarily rising in the world, with some countries already having more babies born through cesarian than the natural way.
In some countries, it's rising because of a cultural thing. Some mothers in Brazil (56% cesarean) don't want to lose body shape, while others in China (47%) don't want the baby to naturally born on an unlucky day like Friday 13th.
In Georgia, it's 44%. They made unsuccessful attempts to reduce it. 6 hospitals were recently penalized for overdoing cesarean.
In Armenia, it's 32%/2018, 19%/2010, 7%/2000, 3%/1990.
Armenian gynecologists are complaining that women themselves are unnecessarily choosing to get cesarean because of exaggerated fear over birth complications and pain.
Another possible reason is that doctors get paid 11x more in bonuses for cesarean than for natural birth, which could incentivize them to convince women to get one. Some women claimed they were coerced by doctors to choose cesarean.
Doctors don't recommend cesarean births because stats show that kids will be more likely to have allergies and digestive issues. "Going through the mother's body and being exposed to her microflora makes the baby more resilient."
https://hetq.am/hy/article/113384 EMERGENCY CARE IN HOSPITALS
Healthcare Ministry will launch a new outpatient Emergency care program within health centers so the patients can get certain urgent care subsidized or free.
Right now, outpatient urgent services are provided in only 40 health centers around Armenia. For more centers to qualify, they were asked to introduce a 24/7 emergency reception and to renovate the reception areas to meet emergency patients. Patients' emergency care will be free in these centers.
Emergency care includes stab wounds, bites, joint dislocations, simple bone fractures, skin rash, allergic reactions, very high temp, chest pain, stomach pain, digestive dysfunctioning, bleeding, burns, freezings, breathing issues.
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180686 EARTHQUAKE SURVIVORS' APARTMENTS
Lori governor's office has 11 free apartments for 11 families who became homeless after the 1988 earthquake. 110 families remain in Lori.
In 2019-2020 the federal govt dedicated extra funds to provide apartments to hundreds of families.
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180554 ARTSAKH ELECTIONS
Artsakh elections will take place in Mar-31-2020.
6 parties will compete for Parliament. 5 of them are local parties, with ARF being the only party that is also active in Armenia.
14 people will run for president.
Greek-Armenian Athena Manukyan will represent Armenia in Eurovision with her song "Chains On You".
--- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180709 CHOCOLATE NEWS
Chocolate business story by an Argentinian-Armenian diasporan repatriate who teamed up with his wife and friends' family to create and run a handmade chocolate business: https://www.facebook.com/aheroofourtimearm/videos/646731002534246/
Armenian sweets producers won 6 medals during a Stuttgart, Germany culinary olympiad. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1005216.html IN CASE YOU MISSED FRIDAY NEWS
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/f5f7zv/feb172020_daily_news_collection_from_armenia_stay/
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