2020 January 31
Jan/31/2020 :: Daily News Summary :: /GDP +10.7 in December /Fuel importers /Gas stations /Kocharyan /Trials /Tsakhkadzor forests /Environment /Crime rate /TV laws /Apartment $ /Healthcare news /Largest taxpayers /Services for kids /Army weapons & conditions /Economy /other
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.
who imports fuel?
QP MP Babken Tunyan says:
Every time we asked the economic competition Committee to give us info on fuel importers, they left out details about Rosneft-Armenia importer, but now they don't.
The vast majority of benzin and diesel are purchased from Rosneft (Russian firm) which sells it to its Armenian subsidiary Rosneft-Armenia (similar to Gazprom and Gazprom-Armenia).
The Committee finds this problematic. Armenian importers Flesh, CPS, etc. are buying from a middle-man instead of Rosneft. This raises fuel prices but the Committee doesn't know by how much exactly because contract papers are missing.
Besides higher prices, this potentially creates unfair competition. The Committee advises reducing the middleman's involvement.
We will discuss this in a Parliamentary committee.
gas station receipts
Earlier QP MP Christine Poghosyan said she's receiving complaints and has seen it personally, that BHK chief Gagik Tsarukyan's MULTI gas station isn't printing IRS-visible sales receipts.
"I filled 10k worth gas and they didn't give a receipt. They didn't even offer. This isn't the first time."
If caught, the 1st penalty is 150k, 2nd 300k. Recently Pashinyan suggested a law to allow consumers to film gas station transactions and send it to IRS if receipt-laws are violated.
Qp MP speculated: "Maybe they import some of their fuel without legally declaring it at the border, so they don't print receipts to not give away the fact that they sell more fuel than they legally claimed they imported, or maybe they want to avoid paying taxes."
The IRS says they've received the complaint are launched an investigation. That station has already been fined once for sales machine inaccuracies.
BHK spokeswoman (denied the claims and) urged the QP MP not to circulate Tsarukyan's name for no reason or for the purpose of "getting likes on social media".
Earlier Kocharyan's lawyers asked the investigators (and later prosecutors) to give them materials that were still part of the preliminary March 1st investigation. Prosecutors objected. Kocharyan sued and won. Prosecutors are challenging the decision in Appeals Court today.
Kocharyan's lawyer asked the judge to recuse himself, bringing 5 reasons they believe the judge is biased (BuzzFeed: 5 reasons why you should dump your judge now).
Prosecutors provided counterarguments.
This is the judge who presided over another Rob lawsuit and ended up rejecting Rob's bail offer. At the time Rob's lawyers created a big circus and received a warning by the judge. Today they argued that the judge "doesn't like them anymore". Prosecutors argued, "just because you created a bolola and received a warning from him last time that doesn't mean he's biased now."
Former regime's activist Narek Simonyan earlier said he had info about IRS agents doing corrupt deals with a company. The SIS launched an investigation and asked him to provide more info. He refused to provide the name of the business and more info at an SIS station, says SIS.
The SIS then criticized the activist for "politicizing the situation" to claim harassment and persecution on social media.
Last year a group of Roboserj activists painted SutNikol tags across Yerevan to spread anti-Pashinyan hashtag on social media. They were issued a 20k fine for "minor hooliganism".
The activists challenged the police's decision in court. Today they won the lawsuit and will have the fine canceled.
The argument was that the law, passed in 2017, was not enforced before May-2018, so enforcing it after May-2018 is "unfair". The judge apparently agreed.
Who leased the Tsakhkadzor resort-city forest lands?
Former HHK IRS boss Gagik Khachatryan.
Former ARF MP Mikael Manukyan.
Kocharyan's ally Samvel Mayrapetyan (owner of H2 TV, outlets, and Toyota Yerevan).
Tsakhkadoz mayor's family.
Hrazdan forestry director Artash Hunanyan.
Former Armenian railways chief's family.
In Mar-2006 the (now suspect) former general prosecutor Aghvan Hovsepyan launched a program to plant 3.2 million trees.
The same year, 3 people (ARF MP, Rob's media guy, Hrazdan forestry chief) leased 3 areas with the purpose of bringing baby-trees for planting. Rob's media guy Samveal Mayrapetyan earlier purchased some lands near these areas.
The Media Guy was paying 120k/year for the 1-hectare land. In the beginning, he planted some trees, but then stopped. A similar situation with the other two.
The largest 9.4-hectare land is leased by IRS chief Gagik Khachatryan's family, for only 471k/year. Near this leased area they own land on which they built a dacha. Then there is the third 7.9ha piece of land leased for 395k/year. They installed fences around the leased lands. They didn't allow Hetq outlet and Hrazdan forest agency to enter and check if the trees are being planted or taken care of.
A 0.5ha land is leased for 360k/year by the family of former HHsh MP and later Kocharyan's Transport Ministry official (Armenian railways chief) Ararat Khrimyan.
A 0.6ha was leased by Tsakhkadzor mayor's family for 448k/year. They wanted to build a ski track but so far haven't. It's in front of Elegant complex.
There are 4 other land leasers. They aren't using the land.
Mini-marshutka #49 line operator will quit next month. It will be replaced by 10 "MAN" and "Mercedes" buses operated by a private firm. For only 100 Drams you can get a ride on a Mercedes, so why drive your grandpa's jiguli?
(Yerevan has a bigger plan to replace mini-marshutkas in the next few years and to take over the transport system.)
Shirak crime numbers
Crime stats from Shirak province:
9% overall rise in recorded cases 2019 vs 2018. 63% solved vs 66%.
Recorded corruption investigations rose 73%. Medium-gravity crimes also rose.
Heavy crime reports rose 11-21%. Heavy crime solve-rates rose 14% reaching 52%. All 2 murder and 3 attempted murder cases were solved.
Deadly road incidents down 14%.
Burglaries down 5%. Burglary solve rate increased from 29% to 35%.
Robberies down 71% (small number).
The 3 Armenian Khachatryan sisters who killed their father with a knife and hammer had their murder charges dropped after the prosecutors decided it was self-defense due to long-term abuse by father. https://www.panorama.am/en/news/2020/01/31/Russian-prosecutor-Khachaturyan-sisters/2231808
Yerevan Mayor Hayk Marutyan (the drag queen guy):
I've decided to reject the petition to mine tuff and basalt stones in Ajapnyak district ['s rural area] after discussing it with the municipality's environmental committee and public surveys. Yerevan should be green and eco-friendly. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179385
Nature Ministry and EU opened a soon to be tech-equipped lab (worth 258mln) tasked with monitoring the environment. The first step was done in 2017.
Minister Eric: Samples of surface and underground water, and air, will be taken from across Armenia. The results will be made public.
EU ambassador Wiktorini: it's good stuff, we want Europe to be climate-neutral by 2050.
TV & Radio reforms
Earlier the Armenia's TV regulatory committee proposed the creation of a private multiplex broadcast system in addition to the sole public one, to allow private TVs to broadcast whatever they want, while requiring public TVs to adhere to stricter standards (certain % of content to be in Armenian language, less gore, less hate speech, balanced news, etc.)
During a recent press event, the regulatory chief Tigran Hakobyan allegedly said certain foreign TVs, including Russian, are a threat to Armenian national security. The Russian embassy criticized his words.
Chief Hakobyan responded: My words were distorted. I spoke about foreign TVs in general, without targeting Russian TV. Moreover, I didn't say it was national security but rather "informational and language security". People (some media outlets and politicians) who don't get this also don't understand what sovereignty means. Don't try to create a fight between our Committee and our Russian colleagues.
Last year the Russian internet censorship agency RosCommNadzor blocked several Armenian news sites. Something related to "right to be forgotten" and "sensitive info".
Outlet Lragir.am, which is critical to Russia, has been blocked again since last month.
A tech expert says the censor cannot block a specific article because the site uses HTTPS protocol, so they have to block the whole site. "In democratic countries, they don't block websites. They just remove personal info from search engines to meet the Right to be Forgotten laws."
Yerevan apartment prices rose 11% in 2019.
The number of sales/purchases in Armenia +13%. In Yerevan it was +1.6, Ararat province +30%, Lori province -12%.
The govt decided to suspend the visa-free regime with China for 2 months. Armenia is in touch with 600 citizens in China who are at risk of being infected with bololavirus. They're looking for ways to evacuate them. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179365 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179390 https://factor.am/218082.html
Healthcare Minister Torosyan:
You don't have to wear a mask yet. We agreed with the Chinese to obtain 200 reagents (worth 3mln) to test bololavirus samples in Armenia. They'll arrive soon.
Healthcare Minister Torosyan:
We purchased a mobile mammogram to help residents detect breast cancer for free. It'll arrive soon. Lori province will be first. 620 first-aid kits were purchased for villages. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1003261.html
IRS published the list of 1,000 biggest taxpayer firms. In 2019 they paid 1.06trln in taxes, +31% vs 2017.
1) Grand Tobacco (up from #2 position) paid 57bln or +35%.
2) Zangezur mining 51bln, +0.5%
3) Gazprom-Armenia 43bln, +9%.
4) International Masis Tobaco 1xbln, +47%. Update: current number missing
5) JTI Armenia 16bln, +18%.
Top 50 inside: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179291
օտար, ամայի ճամփեքին
Pashinyan went to Kazakhstan to meet EAEU colleagues. He took a selfie with the new Russian PM Mishustin.
Mishustin: how do you say "selfie" in Armenian?
Pashinyan: "selfie", lol.
They took a sit and discussed gas, trade. Pashinyan asked to accelerate the work towards creating a universal energy system in EAEU (more stable gas prices).
more kids get more stuff
Labor Ministry provides some daycare related services to a certain group of children.
530 qualified in 2019. This year the list was expanded to 2.9k. All provinces are part of the program instead of previously 4.
Mobility services and caregivers will be provided to provincial disabled kids.
"We did this without asking for more cash from govt," said Labor Minister Batoyan.
Since May-2018, the number of security cameras guarding the borders has +59%.
The number of positions that receive industrial-grade electricity +70%, while solar +38%.
The number of positions that have a running water +194%. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179338
economy and wages rose
2019 year-end numbers arrived. GDP +7.8 in 2019, the highest growth since 2011.
Pashinyan: We had a 10.7% GDP growth in Dec-2019. Export +13, Services 11.6%, Industry +6.4, Construction +4.9, Wages +5.4.
Russian Waterland circus is coming to Armenia on March 6th for the first time. They fly and do զիզի-բիզի stuff above fountains.
Forbes: Welcome To The World’s Next Tech Hub: Armenia
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ewuch9/jan312020_daily_news_summary_gdp_107_in_december/
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