2020 January 23
Jan/23/2020 :: Daily news collection from Armenia :: Stay informed about the 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.
A shooting and hostage situation happened in the business-center Erebuni Plaza in Yerevan. Video of the gunman: https://youtu.be/ktPBxWo6HVI
10 people were briefly taken as a hostage. Police and NSS were dispatched.
Police chief Arman Sargsyan negotiated with the barricaded gunman. The latter dropped the weapon and turned himself in, after being promised a respectful treatment by the cops and not having to wear handcuffs. The police chief took him to a police station. No one was injured.
The suspect is charged with hostage-taking through firearms and threatening >2 people, illegal weapon possession, property damage.
The 33yo gunman is Arthur Torosyan from Masis. He is apparently a Kocharyan supporter (based on Facebook activities) who, according to witnesses, wanted to know where Kocharyan's office was within the Plaza building. He asked to speak with Kocharyan's spokesman Vikor Soghomonyan. "This wasn't the first incident, something happened a few days ago," said one witness. Kocharyan's office staff was away for lunch at the time. Kocharyan's office did not comment.
Pashinyan: violence is unacceptable. Say no to violence in Armenia.
Negotiating process: https://www.facebook.com/www.police.am/videos/317186875882157/
Update: Former Finance Minister Gagik Khachatryan and his nephew were charged and arrested last year. The court released the nephew on 20mln bail.
The Appeals Court sided with the former All-Armenia Fund manager Ara Vardanyan and will keep him out of jail pre-trial. He was earlier charged with stealing donation money and gambling with it, along with other embezzlements.
A rogue SIS agent sent docs to a media outlet about the March 1st case. SIS wiretapped the journalist's phone to catch their rogue agent. At some point, SIS informed the reporter that her phone is being monitored. The Joghovurd reporter sued SIS. Today the Appeals Court sided with the reporter and canceled the SIS's wiretap.
A businessman wrote an open letter to Pashinyan claiming Kocharyan's former adviser Artashes Tumanyan stole his businesses worth >4.8bln.
It was an insult when Serj began distributing bribes. I hang his portrait on my wall with a 5,000 Dram bill next to it. Every morning I would greet and spit on it (pic in the article).
I participated in the 2008 protests despite understanding the risks as a businessman.
Artashes Tumanyan worked as a rat. He would distribute pro-Levon Ter-Petrosyan materials. He then tore his mask off and became a Serj ally. He informed the regime of my anti-Serj activities.
4 felony cases were launched against me. I was sent to Nubarashen prison. Had a hunger strike.
They stole my Lernapat's rhyolite mine, a cargo station, Karat and Konkurent companies, Stankomet shares, all with the help of Artsashes Tumanyan. Now he's trying to prevent this story from being solved.
After the revolution I tried, unsuccessfully, to restore justice. Prosecutors' office said the General Prosecutor is working on it. I was hoping they'd clear my name and recover >4.8bln and send it to the budget.
Dear PM. Recently you said the system is "resisting" the revolution. In reality, this is a full out "war". Lori and Vanadzor prosecutor branches are frauds.
Tumanyan has more influence over law enforcement than the govt. How? Bribery? Dirty info on cops? This is corruption.
This is now an issue of a political nature. Let's meet and talk.
The police busted a corrupt mayor. Memo says:
Between 2016-2017, the mayor of Ara, Aragatsotn registered his family and friends as fake employees and embezzled salary funds.
In 2013, HHK approved the sale of HayRusGazArd gas company to Russian Gazprom, and the latter won a contract to deliver gas to Armenia until 2043. Opposition MPs Nikol Pashinyan and Zaruhi Postanjyan created bolola to unsuccessfully stop to process.
2014 - $190; 2015/16 - $165; 2017/18 - $150; 2019 - $165.
In the beginning, in 2014, Armenia was paying less than Europe. Today Armenia ($165) pays 19% more than Europe ($139).
Russia calculates gas exports in Rubles. In 2014 Armenia was paying 6.6 Rubles/m3. Today it pays 10.2 Rubles/m3. Gazprom is getting more money.
The above was for gas on the border.
The gas to Armenian consumers is sold by Gazprom's subsidiary Gazprom-Armenia. Since 2014 they lowered the prices for small-size consumers, while the price for larger consumers went up and down. In 2017 the firm gave an additional discount for agriculture.
Per the 2013's 30-year-term agreement, Gazprom-Armenia must have a 9% profit. Today, they make less profit per-consumer, made worse by 2019's border price hike.
Presumably, to meet the 9% profitability per 2013 agreement, they are now asking the Public Utility committee to allow them to raise prices for consumers. It's also possible they could reduce expenditure to meet the 9% profit.
https://factor.am/215945.html Tag #GazpromArmenia #Gazprom
Pashinyan about ArmAt tech labs:
The program began in 2014. For 2014-17 the govt spent 0.2bln (220 labs). In 2018 & 2019 1.3bln (355 labs).
Financing is up 10x, with 2x more labs. Labs should be built by companies that win the auction.
Pashinyan about cattle and milk:
Some factories can't get milk from Armenian farmers because of low standards. Milk's storage and temperature are important. Factories demand a 4C storage temp.
Barns are usually hot. People raise the temps out of fear that cows feel cold, while practice shows cows can withstand -30C temps, and that high temps reduce their productivity.
I know the farmers will tell me they know their cows better, but it's something to think about.
The govt gave a tax waiver to Dustr Marianna dairy firm to import 11bln worth 12,000 tons of milk cream from Iran. 15 new employees on top of 318 existing, with ~140k/mo salary.
The govt approves a bill that would help prevent low-quality and dangerous meds from unknown sources from entering the Armenian market.
Imported meds should have an electronic tag that the TAX STAMP app can scan to find more details about the med. Consumers can do this too.
Importers must submit the product to the Healthcare Ministry to get a certificate, but sometimes they don't.
The Parliament passed a BHK bill to clarify how employees are fired as regulated by the Law 226. It closes verbal/written loopholes.
Healthcare Ministry: some roofs cause cancer because they contain asbestos. You can breathe it. We can't tell what % of lung/throat cancer is caused by it, but it does cause cancer. Their use is illegal, but many such structures were inherited from USSR.
Arthur Meschyan was appointed as Yerevan architect after the 2018 elections. He complained that 43% of Yerevan buildings contain asbestos. To replace the roofs under existing laws, the city would need 100% of residents' approval, which isn't practical. They're now working on amending the law to give the city more rights.
Yerevan will soon receive a new multi-functional garbage truck as a gift. 🍿
Yerevan's air is worse than in Moscow or Istanbul. Air pollution has increased in Armenia by 40% between 2000-2018. 68% of pollution comes from transportation (it used to be 80%). In 2018, cars polluted 57% of it.
Lori province is 138x more polluted than Vayots Dzor, and 3x more polluted than Yerevan.
The govt earlier raised pensions, minimum pensions, monthly child-care subsidy.
As a result, 11k legally poor families received more monthly income. Sounds good, but now they are legally above the poverty line. This would prevent them from receiving another type of poverty aid.
To prevent this, the Labor Ministry decided to lower the definition of poverty line so the 11k families (45,000 people) will still qualify.
As a side effect, 1,000 additional families, who were not receiving poverty aid before, will begin to qualify. "This is great, but those families should remember that they cannot exit poverty with this aid, the only solution is work," said Pashinyan.
Transparency International's Berlin office released a 2019 report which says Armenian moved from 105th to 77th place in the global transparency perception (by citizens) rank. The points went from 35 to 42 (out of 100), the highest in its history.
Yesterday the Economist published the democracy index measurements, moving Armenia from 105th to 86th place.
Italian Lega MP Giulio Centemero gave a speech in the Chamber about the 90s massacres of Armenians in Baku, Azerbaijan. He mentioned how the govt was aiding the perpetrators. He also mentioned the Sumgayit massacres of 1988, as well as massacres of 1905, 1918. "The humanity must remember these events and not allow them to be covered-up by propaganda," said the MP.
(dude's wife is Armenian-Lebanese ;)
President Sarkissian visited Israel and met Parliament chief, had a chit-chat and casually dropped the G-bomb by asking them to recognize the Armenian G.
This summer, French and German embassies will organize a month-long cultural festival in Yerevan's old Kond district. Street arts, movies, etc.
Better late than never.
Donor Vardan Budoyan will repair Vardenis St. Astvatsatsin church's bell tower that has been left unfinished for 118 years.
💘 Hayko-Mko forever together 💘
Comedian-turned mayor Hayk Marutyan visited his friend Mkrtich Arzumanyan's performance. #saveմիլիոն
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/esyl6o/jan232020_daily_news_collection_from_armenia_stay/
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