2020 January 28

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Jan/28/2020 :: Daily news collection from Armenia :: Stay informed about the Anti-Corruption busts, Politics, Economy, Diaspora, Daily Life, and more...
by ar_david_hh

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.


suicide confirmed

The 2016-2018 NSS chief Georgi Kutoyan recently shot himself in the head shortly after a rage accident in his apartment. 90 people were questioned and 10 forensic exams were conducted. It was a suicide driven by personal matters. The motives are known.

His wife contacted the Investigative Committee and asked them to keep the motives secret for personal reasons.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179105

brewery accident

Former police chief Ashot Karapetyan died from a keg/equipment explosion in a brewery in Russia a few months ago.

His cousin had purchased the brewery 2 days before the accident. Karapetyan took a trip to the facility when it exploded, leaving him and his cousin dead.

Russian authorities are still questioning witnesses to find out the reasons for the explosion. Improper handling of materials is suspected.

Karapetyan was a potential witness in various events that happened under Serj administration. He was fired in 2016 for improper conduct towards protesters in Sari Tagh, an incident that is currently being examined in courts.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179112

fake news

A Russian and several Armenian Roboserj outlets spread fake news about Pashinyan going to a doctor (secretly) for urgent neuroses treatment.

It spread from a fake Facebook user Nikolai Ter-Halabyan. It was picked up by a Russian outlet Мастер пера (Master Pera). From there it spread to more popular Russian outlet Новые ведомости (Novie Vedomosti). From there it spread to Armenian news.am and aysor.am.

Journalists from the Russian-Armenian outlet Infoteka24 actually bothered to contact the clinic's director Tsolak Hakobyan, who was mentioned as being the alleged doctor who treated Pashinyan. He denied the rumor and said saying he isn't in Armenia.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179057

detained

Former HHK police chief's aide Narek Malyan, currently a media activist and the founder of VETO movement known for his anti-Soros protests, has been detained under the suspicion of possessing or carrying illegal weapons.

His friends Kostantin Ter-Nakalyan, and Arthur Danielyan, both members of a former street gang Adekvad turned-political party, were also detained under gun and narcotics suspicions.

They were released shortly afterward.

Anti-Soros activist Narek Malyan said: I have info that Soros's Open Society Institute's chief convinced Pashinyan to detain me. When a revolution happens (and Roboserj come to power), we will shut down all the sects listed by me. It's a long list.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179087 https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179089 https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179091 https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179113 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179120 https://medium.com/dfrlab/armenia-assailed-by-deceptive-fact-checking-groups-part-i-the-players-2ce03daf2d28 Video: https://www.facebook.com/mihran.hakobyan.3/videos/10158013675463197/ https://www.panorama.am/en/news/2020/01/28/Opposition-activists-released-from-detention/2229982 https://youtu.be/AI-IM5WBfuA?t=83

"they programmed me"

A Kocharyan supporter recently broke into the Erebuni Plaza, fired 10 shots with a rifle, and wanted to speak with the Kocharyan office. People who knew him claimed it was a job-related dispute gone wrong.

The gunman's lawyer gave an interview to ArmTimes.:

Q: What charges are pressed against your client?

A: taking a group of people hostage while using violence. He purchased the hunting rifle legally 2 days earlier so no charges on that.

My client doesn't accept the guilt. He has a legal background and graduated from the Mankavarjakan's Faculty of Law. The law says if the hostage-taker voluntarily turns himself in he cannot be charged with a felony (claims are by the lawyer).

Q: Why did he do that?

A: He went to take hostages to make demands. (Sherlock intensifies). He wanted to speak with Kocharyan's office chief Viktor Soghomonyan but that didn't happen.

Q: What did he want to speak about with Viktor Soghomonyan?

A: To be honest, he's bringing illogical reasons here. (here we go again, my client is a psycho, pls let him go). He believes his brain was programmed, so he wanted to use Viktor Soghomonyan's help to contact Kocharyan's son Sedrak to ask him why he was programmed.

Q: What does he mean by "programmed"?

A: We all want to know. I think we need a psychiatric evaluation. I won't rule out that he has mental issues.

Q: His former employer (security guard firm) said he had no issues at work, and that he passed the medical tests at work.

A: To buy a weapon legally (which he did) you also have to bring a paper proving you're mentally fit. He got the paper a few weeks ago. It'll be terrible if we learn that he was given that paper without a proper examination. I think the checks before selling a weapon should be tightened after this incident.

Q: What about hostages?

A: He met the first available person in the building and made the demands.

Q: Did he say who might have pushed him to do this?

A: No, he says it was all his idea.

Q: Did he work for/at the Kocharyan office?

A: No.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179102

Army Day

Armenian politicians went to military memorials to commemorate the fallen soldiers and mark the 28th anniversary of army formation. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179086


Serj also went to lay flowers. Journalists were trying to get a response about Pashinyan's accusations that Serj was negotiating to give 7 regions to Azerbaijan. Serj: "It's a deception." : https://youtu.be/J-s5Jk51Ewo?t=17 https://youtu.be/DcN5QUgybbs


Gyumri celebrates the army day: https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179085


Defense Minister Tonoyan: the second batch of Su-30 jets will arrive soon. We have increased our military capabilities by dozens of percentile points. The high-quality food is already delivered to 40% of military units; it was a success that surprised even us.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179062


Pashinyan met the US ambassador Lynne and the Kansas National Guard chief, spoke about cooperations in defense. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179101


Various high ranking politicians uploaded old pics of themselves in the army: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1002897.html


Army spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan gave an interview:

A new batch of Su-30 jets will arrive. We plan to have 1 escadrille consisted of 12 jets. Every year we buy new types of weapons or more quantities of existing weapons.

The idea to remove conscripts from the front line and use only professionals sounds good on paper, but in practice it has issues. The 2019 mass exercises proved that some of the best and most experienced soldiers are the (former) conscripts who were recently discharged but called back as part of the staged draft call.

At the same time, we think some of the concerns about hired contractors are overblown. Yes, sometimes those who join the army for money are people living in nearby border villages and they have disciplinary issues because of having a different attitude towards the service, but the problem is exaggerated.

Pashinyan was correct to say 2019 had the fewest army deaths. It's about service-related deaths. Helsinki Committee's Vanadzor branch and several journalists counted the non-service deaths while claiming Pashinyan was wrong about the numbers. If we count the death of a soldier who went on a vacation and died at home, or other non-direct-service deaths, we would have a different picture.

We plan to complete the high-quality food rollout in 2020.

Many more border positions have running water and electricity today. This is still a big issue that we'll solve by 2023-2025. Soldiers will have running water and shower.

Q: Our sources say the govt gave the army 110bln additional "side" funding for weapons in 2019, from the anti-corruption fight.

A: I can't comment.

https://youtu.be/FCqE7PfVFQc?t=9

Artsakh elections preparations

Artsakh is preparing for the March-2020 presidential elections. Informed Citizens NGO's local office was recently given resources to monitor the process. They're hiring a team of observers. The voting stations will be equipped with cameras.

This year's elections are going to be hot because there are several high profile candidates.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/178524

media and mining transparency

Pashinyan administration recently passed a law to help reveal the owners behind mining companies. To raise trust towards media, various journalist associations encouraged a similar law for media owners so the public will know whose info they're consuming.

Deputy Justice Minister Srbuhi Galyan's interview:

Q: What laws and when should we expect?

A: When we passed the law to require the legal entities who own mines to be revealed and registered, simultaneously we amended laws to create a universal system that can be scaled in the future to handle registrations of other fields (such as media).

Mass media outlet owners and shareholders will be required to be transparent. This will help reduce violation of human dignity on air, and dishonest business practices.

Q: What is the actual process of revealing the owners?

A: We're still working on the mechanisms, but it'll be similar to the mining.

Q: There were complaints about a monopoly in the ad distribution system. (TV Committee invited international experts to examine; Serj son-in-law Mikael Minasyan accused of creating a giant media monopoly empire, he measures ads, he regulates, he distributes money; see older posts). Will this be addressed?

A: The creation of this monopoly isn't just a result of legal flaws regulating the TV itself. It's a sensitive issue and one that requires a legal intervention that doesn't violate free speech. The owner revelation laws will also prevent monopolies while being based on legal and international practice.

Q: Will the ad market be reformed? There are complaints that the agency that measures ad efficiency of a network, the networks themselves, and the ad money distributors are currently tightly associated, while they should be independent.

A: It's clear there is a conflict of interest here, but the Justice Ministry isn't tasked with addressing that. Others will.

Q: What's the goal of all this?

A: For the public to know whose info they're consuming and the regulators will have the legal tools to fight against monopolies.

Q: Some could view these regulations as an attempt to pressure the media.

A: The laws must be carefully written because we deal with freedom of speech. The revelation of true owners is an internationally accepted practice and cannot be viewed as pressure. Media outlets will be involved with the law's creation so they can raise their concerns. In the end, honest outlets will benefit from this.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/178726

kidnapped

Constitutional Court judge Hrant Nazaryan says his ex-wife kidnapped their 8yo son last Friday. He called the police. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179081

virus

Over 4500 people around the world have been infected with the Chinese bololavirus so far.

One Chinese tourist in Turkey is suspected of having the virus. He was a member of a large Chinese group. The rest are quarantined just in case.

A Georgian traveler returned from China and went to a hospital with virus-like symptoms. So far it appears it wasn't the bololavirus.

Healthcare Ministry has checks at the airports to monitor the situation.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179083 https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179100 https://hetq.am/hy/article/112621

gas

Update: Meghri suburbs will receive gas. Recently the govt gave 281mln to examine the possible costs of pipe network installation and organize an auction. 10,000 residents and 30 commercial consumers will have gas by next winter.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/178789

12 adults and 1 child were hospitalized with a gas poisoning in Chambarak's Araks banquet hall. Does your carbon alarm work?

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179056

tea or coffee?

Armenia imports 3x (export 42x) more coffee than tea.

Armenians drink 333 tons of tea each year, for $7/kg on average. In the US it's $2/kg.

Largest tea origins are Sri Lanka (38%), Russia (35%) , and UAE (14%), Georgia, China, India, Iran.

TIL: Armenia exports coffee.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/112617

screen junkies

What social media outlets do Yerevan residents use: 2017 vs 2019?

Facebook 62%/64%

Instagram 25%/30%

Odnoklassniki 24%/21%

vK 15%/13%

Twitter 6%/6%

LinkedIn 6%/5%


Social media usage by age group for 2015 vs 2019:

16-30yo: 83%/90%

31-45yo: 58%/83%

46-60yo: 27


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/evb69u/jan282020_daily_news_collection_from_armenia_stay/Jan/28/2020 :: Daily news collection from Armenia :: Stay informed about the Anti-Corruption busts, Politics, Economy, Diaspora, Daily Life, and more...


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