2020 January 24
Jan/24/2020 :: 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.
Yesterday a man entered the Erebuni Plaza business center and briefly took several people hostage, before surrendering.
Witnesses said he wanted to speak with Kocharyan's spokesman. (he was a Kocharyan supporter based on Facebook)
Other witnesses say he worked as a security guard in the BERKUT security agency, and was protecting Kocharyan's office, but was fired recently for falling asleep on duty. His salary was withheld, so he decided to go take it in such a manner. Kocharyan's spokesman says he was not (directly) employed by Kocharyan's office.
BERKUT rep says the man worked there until Oct-2019 but quit voluntarily. He passed a medical test, passed a background check, and wasn't given a weapon on duty.
The man lawyered up and isn't cooperating with investigators.
Changes will be made to Parliament building exterior and interior. New lighting, modified garden, internal changes. They'll launch a competition for the best design. A series of permits will need to be issued first. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/178645
The chief of Freedom of Expression Protection NGO spoke about the state of media, their relations with the public, govt, etc.:
96 reporters were involved in lawsuits in 2019, up from 22 in 2018.
89 of these lawsuits were about defamation. 4 were filed by reporters to obtain info. 1 financial dispute. 1 reporter vs a political analyst. 1 reporter vs govt.
The high number of lawsuits is because the media sphere is full of misinformation and insults these days.
We count these defamation lawsuits involving reporters as a "pressure", which is why the number of pressures on reporters went from 67 to 134 for 2019.
There was a significant reduction in violence against reporters. 4 in 2019 vs 21 in 2018. People prefer courts instead of fists nowadays.
The 108 violations about reporters' ability to spread news were mostly about govt agencies not responding and providing info appropriately.
The media is not free from people who own them, however. Various politicians are influencing the media through financing them.
We don't like the new law that will allow H1 public TV to broadcast more ads. We think it will chew the private sector's revenue away.
We like Yerevan municipality's 2019 law that allowed reporters to more freely enter and broadcast from city hall.
Overall the freedom of media is in significantly better shape after the 2018 revolution. The media has never been this free from govt intervention.
Former HHK Justice Minister and CC chief Hrayr Tovmasyan's apartment was searched by investigators. His defense says they were looking for some property ownership documents but didn't find any. Tovmasyan said the Pashinyan administration is trying to get rid of him as CC judge.
Earlier he was charged with embezzlement and abuse of power (against subordinate notaries) regarding his ~2013 Justice Ministry years.
2 soldiers were wounded in Artsakh from non-combat causes. Shamshyan news outlet suggested it was a murder-suicide incident.
Army spokesman blasted Shamshyan for earlier incorrectly claiming there were 2 deaths: "What were you thinking?"
A felony case is launched.
Prosecutors say the State Property Management Agency officials sold a 464mln worth govt-property to some firm for only 35mln, in 2017. A felony case is launched.
Shirak police conducted raids in 6 cities and detained several members of the criminal subculture. Items stolen during a burglary were recovered, weapons were found. In one instance the suspect voluntarily submitted a gun and ammo. https://youtu.be/mQoSp_8liJA
NSS and police busted environmental corruption. Memo says:
Starting in 2009, one of Gegharquniq's Environmental Inspection agency officials has been abusing powers. He had info that Lchashen's municipality officials broke some law, so he used it as a leverage to convince them to allow his brother to do illegal basalt mining, causing 36mln in damages. A felony case is launched.
Parliament ratified the African-Eurasian agreement to protect the migrating waterbirds. 118 species of such birds live and travel through Armenia. Voted 115-0-0. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1002479.html
Deputy Education Minister's house was burglarized. Jewelry and money were stolen. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/178836
The Police chief fired the Yerevan police chief and moved the deputy Yerevan police chief to another department. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/178833
A group of 6 Russian hikers made a 911 call from a remote mountainous area asking for medical help for one of their friends. His condition is stable now. The emergency crew is still looking for them with snowmobiles. They might use drones. Have you seen the Russians? https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/178876
Bolola in Parliament. QP and LHK argued over something. LHK accused QP of being the ruling party yet acting like an opposition. One of LHK MPs brandished a boomerang to make his point.
Speaker Mirzoyan jokingly responded: no problemo, we can be kinder to each other, but pls don't bring a weapon to Parliament anymore.
LHK MP: it's just a souvenir. (JUST A PRANK BRO)
Parliament passed a "taco-truck" QP bill to regulate street trade in Yerevan. The current law isn't clear on who enforces the law, what the definition of mobile trade is, and the hours they can operate on.
The amendment gives Yerevan city the right to handle this and places an administrative fee on sellers.
Sellers participated in the law's creation. It was decided they can keep the sales vehicles parked for 3 days straight, but not move it after 11 pm. LHK complained some sellers could win a monopoly and voted against. Voted 74-41. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/178816
Parliament passed a QP bill to require the payments from residents to Home Owner Associations (HOA) to be done electronically. The law will also increase the HOA's responsibilities. Voted 97-18. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1002481.html
Parliament passed a govt bill to create one unified database that shows all aid the govt issues for various purposes to better manage things and to ensure transparency. Voted 117-0. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1002496.html
The govt has a loan program for those who want to build licensed butcheries. 3-15mln for 5 years at 5% for individuals, 3% for cooperatives, 0% for those living in border regions.
Another subsidy program allows farmers to buy up to 450mln worth equipment, with a 20mln down-payment, and pay within 8 years at 4% (0% for border regions).
Now the govt is reviewing these programs to make them better. Earlier the govt postponed the law that would prohibit butchers from butchering in their backyards without a license. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1002537.html
The Hamshen-Armenian organization has asked Noble Committee to nominate Turkish-Armenian MP Garo Paylan for the 2020 Noble Peace Prize for his defense of minorities in the whole region. Paylan was nominated in 2019. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/178827
32 pharmacies and 76 medical companies were suspended for violating laws in 2019. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/178881
Medical stats for 2019 vs 2018 after some services became more accessible (some free):
Heart stenting surgeries: 2132 vs 1463
Heart surgeries: 5726 vs 2504
Cancer surgeries: 4428 vs 979
kidney surgeries: 20 vs 10
Bone marrow transplant: 13 vs 1
Radiation therapy: 1351 vs 461
Stroke surgery: 345 in 2019
<18yo child care: 90k vs 69k
Subsidized care: 105k vs 90k
Diaspora committee chief Mkhitar Hayrapetyan:
Hysterical Azeri govt asked the Cyprus govt to arrest and extradite former the European Parliament MP and a friend of Armenia Eleni Theocharous. Since 2015 the Azeri govt has been asking Interpol to arrest her for visiting the Artsakh Republic without Azerbaijan's permission.
I spoke about this with Cyprus officials and Theocharous herself, to send her our support. People who fight for truth without a fear should be a role model. Azerbaijan should realize that this tactic of distracting their public from internal issues will be fruitless. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/178896
Russian-Armenian figure skater Arthur Danielyan won the silver medal in the European championship. Video https://armtimes.com/hy/article/178821
President Sarkissian participated in a Holocaust memorial event in Jerusalem. A memorial ceremony was held in Yerevan to commemorate Holocaust victims. The Jewish-Armenian diaspora gathered.
Jewish diaspora chief Rima Varjapetyan: "There is no and has never been antisemitism in Armenia. I can openly declare publicly that I'm Jewish. Armenians have their own diasporas around the world, which is why they are tolerant towards minorities."
400 Jewish families live in Armenia. They migrated in 1828 after Armenia was given to Russia.
Today marks the 96th anniversary of legendary poet Paruyr Sevak. His home-museum will hold events. Kids from various schools will go there to read his pieces.
We had a sharp increase in attendance (14,085) last year. The highest ever. Higher than in some big-name museums. Maybe because we're active on the internet. We try to create a family-friendly atmosphere here. This year we installed a heating system for winter months. Last year Sevak's childhood home in Chanakhchi (Zangakatun) was opened for public.
"Sevak" is a nickname, given by artist Ruben Zaryan, named after Ruben Sevak who was an Armenian poet who died during the Genocide.
Paruyr Sevak's grandchild tells a story about how Paruyr Sevak stole books as a child: https://youtu.be/sJo0YFk8TQk
Sevak reads for you: https://youtu.be/7c2EEpFpduA?t=6
they are removing it, sad, miss u alredy :(
This guy got towed away and fined for driving on sidewalks: https://youtu.be/YS8ZgEZr3QQ
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/etgdql/jan242020_daily_news_collection_from_armenia_stay/
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