2020 January 9
Jan/9/2020 :: Anti-Corruption & News Summary :: Stay informed about current events in Armenian Politics, Daily Life, Economy, Law Enforcement Busts, Major Developments, 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.
Կախարդական ֆոկուս պոկուսները հետո կպատմեմ։ Լուչշե ձեզի Մեր Բակի թազա նորությունները ասեմ․․․
Dalma Garden Mall had an emergency situation.
The admins noticed some "movement" of the items placed on counters. It lasted 30 minutes and affected one whole section of the building, including the business booths located in that section. People were told by the security to evacuate. The ambulance was dispatched just in case.
People who were gathered outside spread misinformation that something collapsed on the 2nd floor.
The situation was made worse when someone told the gatherers that there was going to be an earthquake in Yerevan that day.
Emergency Ministry says the rumors of the earthquake are false.
Dalma Mall will be closed tomorrow for a structural examination. Emergency Ministry will also examine whether it was heavy-duty equipment or a soil movement that could have caused the movement.
It's also possible that a nearby construction affected the building if the construction area and the mall are located on the same underground "rock".
They haven't found any cracks in the building so far.
...Նորայրին հիշում էք, կարգին գործի ա անցել...
notary & property investigation
HHK Justice Minister and Constitutional court chief Tovmasyan's godson Norayr Panosyan, who also used to work at the Justice Ministry, has been arrested after court approval.
He was charged with pressuring his subordinate notaries to do illegal property deals years earlier. He was freed earlier, but recently more charges were pressed against him, prompting another arrest petition by prosecutors.
"The court system is in worse shape than during Rob and Serj", complained the official's lawyer.
...Ռոբը վոնց կար ետենց էլ մնացելա․.
Kocharyan & Co trial
Kocharyan & co-defendants are in court again. Things got heated. A lawyer asked the defendant to be freed.
March 1st murder victim's family member got upset and said "If the dear lawyers were in our place, would they feel good? They should respect Match 1st, otherwise, they could end up in our place".
Rob's lawyer accused the victim's family member of making threats towards him. Another March 1st victim's father said the other victim's family member made a "linguistic error" and that it wasn't a threat.
Back and forth arguments were made about people being "man enough" to own their words.
Prosecutors complained that the trial was turning into a street-level fight between Kocharyan and March 1st victim's family and that both sides should be given a copy of the recording so they can solve their problems later. The judge agreed with the prosecutor's complaint.
Victim's father https://youtu.be/i9kZs3Vh86o
...քուչում ինչքան նորություն կա, ետքան պրոբլեմ կա...
"the gang of 67"
Singer Eric was among 67 show-biz agents who earlier signed the petition asking Kocharyan to be freed on bail.
Today he denied rumors that his solo concert in Los Angeles was canceled due to local Armenians' boycott, saying there were no plans to do a solo concert.
Those who spread the rumors responded saying it wasn't meant to be a solo concert, but local ARF office allegedly organized an event during which Eric was supposed to perform 1-2 songs.
ARF and it's high ranking officials are suing IND MP Babajanyan for alleged defamation.
A few months ago the MP criticized ARF for their plans to conduct "partisan blows" to Pashinyan administration. The info about "blows" was leaked by ARF dissenters who opposed ARF leaders' handling of the party.
The MP mentioned "ARF's past terror activities" (referring to 1990s accusations against ARF) while urging to take the threats coming from them seriously.
ARF accused MP of defamation.
MP promised to raise "more awareness" about "ARF's 1990s activities" through the court trial. "ARF will have an opportunity to explain the actions of their comrade Hrant Margaryan. I'll see you in court", said MP.
...բայց փառք Աստծո էտ պրոբլեմները լուծող մարդիկ կան...
The police say they busted Ushi's former mayor with fraud and embezzlement after he lied to a resident during a road construction process. A felony case is launched.
...Մարալիկցիք գյուտարար մարդիկ են, ինչ պրոբլեմ ել լինի 100% կլուծեն...
Update: Maralik birth clinic was shut down.
Healthcare Minister says it was due to safety precautions because the clinic lacks the necessary doctors and it has few births. The fewer the births, the less frequently docs do their work, the higher the chance the child will be hurt.
The practice is done across Armenia. Some exceptions were made in other settlements that were too remote and residents couldn't visit a clinic in a nearby settlement. In the case of Maralik, the Ministry calculated and it's safer for an ambulance to drive 9 miles to nearby Artik.
Update: Henrikh Mkhitaryan's injury is pretty serious. He'll miss at least 1 month.
Military Industry committee chief received a disciplinary warning from the PM. He agrees with the decision, but won't say why he got it.
It ain't much, but it's an honest confession.
Soleimani drone strike
In 2019 the Trump administration appointed ethnic Armenian Jeffrey Harrigian as the leader of US air operations in Europe and Africa.
Israeli analyst Avigdor Eskin mistakenly thought Harrigian was also managing the Middle East affairs and wrote "Special thanks to US air force general Jeffrey Harigian, the descendant of Armenian Genocide, for his role in liquidating Soleimani". (Context: Jews went through genocide and don't want Iran to get nukes because Iran threatens to wipe them out.)
...բայց լուծելու համար փողա պետք...
SOC & money
SOC auditor institute was created by Pashinyan in 2018. It audits subjects that receive half of the funding from govt.
In 2019 they audited 100 subjects and found 19bln in damages to the state.
The number of penalties issued to gas stations by Health and Labor Auditors:
In 2019, 330 stations were penalized and brought to standards. 100 stations were issued fines for poor toilet conditions.
No love for the anthem? CHANGE IT!
There is a law requiring all private and public TV networks to play the Armenian anthem when the new year arrives at 0:00.
Armenia, Armnews, ATV, Yerkir Media, Kentron, Nor Hayastan, 5th Channel, and Shant outlets did not play it. Some people began asking for the channels to be penalized.
The TV and Radio committee will not penalize them, despite the law's existence, because the law isn't clear on how to enforce things.
CivilNet's interview with Tigran Varag, the leade rof the Armeniani Geographic mountain hiking group which hosted PM Pashinyan earlier
Tourists... time to "harass" them with questions. What do they like?
It turns out the govt was serious about restoring the 17th century Old Yerevan ruins that were found under Republic Square a few years back. At the time a decision was made to close it with cement and asphalt.
Pashinyan says the works will begin this year. It will turn into a museum within the square.
Pashinyan throws a hissy fit about loitering and not printing sales receipts:
There are reports that some businesses still don't print the sales receipts. IRS should issue fines if the customer records the incident on video, just as in the case of drivers recording traffic violations and uploading them for police action.
Today I saw how a govt employee parked the car outside, smoked, then threw the butt on the ground (մեռար ապե). I know what to do, but what if an ordinary citizen witness it? Do they have tools to fight against this?
There are countries where the citizens are allowed to write a ticket to other citizens. The culture needs to change. We should not have restaurants where the chairs are made out of gold but the toilet seats are filthy and busted.
Pashinyan complained that one of the govt workers threw a cigarette butt on the ground, and that he "knows what to do".
Then we learn the military-industrial chief gets a warning from PM and admits the wrongdoing.
hmmmm if Iran sends us the black boxes we might be able to decipher this story 🤔
Armenia's gross foreign reserves have been rising in 2019 and were at the highest point in several years.
They rose 26% or $580mln, in December 2019 vs December 2018. The sharp increase in Dec-2019 was due to Central bank buying currency.
2019 was a good year. We met all the short-term goals. 2020 is when we work on long-term plans.
We have to start preparing for the 2020 New Year celebrations now. (sniffs a line of cocaine and continues) This year we plan to organize yarkhushta traditional Armenian folk dance festival.
Tourists should be given leaflets at the airports informing them about approximate taxi prices. It's great that foreign press recommends traveling to Armenia especially after low-cost airlines entered the market. We must improve hospitality service quality for tourists.
Toilet qualities should improve. Hey cabinet worker, what's the status on it?
Cabinet worker: we're working on it. Hygiene requirements will be enforced.
...փողի համար գործ ա պետք...
Pashinyan about tourism and jobs:
Low-cost airlines are going to bring many budget travelers. They won't stay in 5-star hotels. They'll walk around, see nature, and boost the small and medium business in Armenia.
Beginning 2020 we removed taxes from micro-businesses (<24mln annual turnover). We're creating conditions for you to make your living with your knowledge and effort. Working is the only way to defeat poverty, in any country. The person laying on a couch should hold the government's hand and stand up.
...գործի համար բիզնես...
new year, less taxes
Income taxes were reduced beginning in 2020. The progressive 23/28/36 bracket was replaced with flat 23%.
Right now if you make 500k, you'll pay 111k tax instead of 132k.
The 23% tax bracket will reduce further to 20% in a few years.
Simultaneously, throughout the next few years, another paycheck tax for pensions will increase by 2.5%.
In practice, this means even if you earn <150k ($312, 65% of employees) you will end up paying less or at least the same.
Those earning >150k will pay the same % but will see higher dollar-amount savings.
Actually, those who earn <150k could also see a significant reduction if they are not part of the group who pays towards pensions. There are 2 sub-groups within the low-income bracket. One sub-group could pay 5% less.
The govt will collect 5% of the paycheck, then double that amount at its own expense, then send the sum to the pension fund. If the worker doesn't pay this 5% pension tax then they save more.
We are promoting and encouraging high paying jobs. We want high salary workers to stay and work in Armenia.
We want employers to raise salaries of those earning <150k without having to worry about paying more taxes.
(employer deducts a tax amount and pays to govt, if the employer has to pay less then he gets to keep more and could use that money to raise employee salaries, or to invest, if I understood right)
Govt gave a tax waiver to Anitex textile firm to invest 2.8bln and finish the creation of the business with 44 new jobs.
Govt approved a 4.8bln/year package to increase aid for newborn children starting July.
1st baby - 300k (was 50k)
2nd baby - 300k (was 150k)
Monthly child care subsidy - 26.5k (was 18k)
Pashinyan: we want mothers to have more kids, and have the ability to return to work sooner.
...եթե ուզում ես համով բան ուտես, արի մեր բակ, քելե մեր բակ:
No passport required
... is the name of the American PBS show that will air an epiosde this January 20th about the US-Armenian diaspora's cousine
"L.A.’S LITTLE ARMENIA KICKS OFF SEASON 2 OF NO PASSPORT REQUIRED WITH MARCUS SAMUELSSON JANUARY 20 ON PBS"
What's with the incoherent Armenian text above today's news stories?
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/emfvpc/jan92020_anticorruption_news_summary_stay/
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