2020 July 2

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Jul/2/2020: (1) Law targets foreign TVs (2) RUS & ARM journalists clash over news (3) ARM to import Kazakh oil to break RUS monopoly (4) Big trucks vs asphalt (5) COVID news, Vaccines, Grandma found (6) Gyumri's aerial tramway (7) Russian railway cuts prices (8) Edu. reforms (9) Pensions (10) Wheat!
by ar_david_hh


Public TV licensing changes / Russian TVs / CNN

The Parliament passed a bill to regulate what can be broadcasted over-the-air "public multiplex". Less gore, news that covers both opinions, more content in Armenian language, etc.

Some people complained that the law is targeted against Russian TVs because it establishes strong pro-Armenian requirements.

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Public TV chief regulator Tigran Hakobyan says every country has these laws, including Russia. EuroNews broadcasts its content in Russian on Russian territory.

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For a Russian TV to continue to broadcast on Armenian public multiplex in the Russian language, Armenia and Russia will need to sign a "deal".

In any case, Russian TVs can continue to operate on cable, paid, or private airways without restrictions.

The free public airways will be reserved for those who meet the new criteria.

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This will solve the problem of some Armenian TVs not receiving a license because the airways are "full house".

In 2021 there will be an airways license allocation. If by then Russia and Armenia do not sign a "deal", the Russian TVs will lose their license, and local Armenian TVs will take their spots.

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Out of ~400 cable TVs today, 209 are Russian, 60 American, 55 European (some in Russian), 55 Armenian.

"This poses a danger to the Armenian language because children grow up getting more accustomed to foreign languages. Many parents complain that their children use Russian/English lexicon instead of Armenian because of all the foreign-language cartoons/shows."

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Q: some Russian TVs openly push anti-Pashinyan agenda while broadcasting one-sided misinformation in favor of Kocharyan. Will the new law prevent it?

A: No.

&nbps;

Q: what will happen to CNN?

A: it'll be kicked out, unless Armenia and USA sign a deal, which is unlikely. Armenia is a rare country where CNN is over-the-air. Usually it's on cable/satellite.

Full: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGoTto_L_Vg

Tag: #PublicTV Kremlin's propagandist furious after Armenian TV broadcasts opposition figure

Russian govt organized a Constitutional referendum. It was criticized for many instances of falsifications and shady online voting system.

Pashinyan congratulated Putin with "successfully organizing the elections".

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Armenia's state-funded H1 TV covered the referendum topic, during which they showed Russia's main opposition figure Alexey Navalny, known for his anti-corruption investigations. Navalny is banned from Russian media because the govt fears him.

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Kremlin's anti-Pashinyan reporter Vladimir Solovyov didn't appreciate seeing Navalny, his personal nemesis, and called out the Armenian H1 for giving him airtime.

Solovyov, who once expressed his admiration for Benito Mussolini, accused Navalny of being an anti-Armenian Nazi and blasted H1 for the coverage.

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Some analysts believe H1 did this on purpose as a response to the one-sided Russian TV propaganda that berates Pashinyan in support of Kocharyan.

Others downplayed the story, while pointing out that H1 merely did a balanced news coverage in which they also presented the anti-Putin viewpoint in addition to Kremlin's view.

https://www.1in.am/2781828.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191658

Armenia to diversify its fuel sources / Kazakh deal

Armenia gets almost all of its oil from Russian RosNeft.

1.5 years ago the govt began negotiating with Kazakhstan to import their fuel with better terms. It's expected to increase competition.

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Pashinyan: monopolies have been weakening since 2018, with more players entering the market, but some still exist. We must make sure citizens have access to affordable and quality fuel.

In the past, Armenian fuel prices would reduce slowly if worldwide prices reduced, but increase quickly if the worldwide prices increased. Now it's even; the prices reduce just as fast.

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The govt is working on a law that could automate the fuel sales receipt printing in gas stations. Fill your tank = automatic IRS-visible sales receipt.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191618 , https://youtu.be/s8LBn8qL8S8

Tag: #KazakhFuel #KazakhstanDeal

Kocharyan supporters' trial / March 1st victim bribery / Tavadyan's bottle

During Kocharyan's 2019 trial, his supporters and opponents gathered outside of court.

Kocharyan's media propagandist Tavadyan (5th Channel) and 2 others allegedly threw a bottle at anti-Kocharyan protester Vardges Gaspari, who was shouting his iconic " Ռոբիկ սրիկա, Ռոբիկ մարդասպան". Gaspari's eye was busted.

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A year later, Tavadyan allegedly organized a scheme to bribe March 1st victims to have them retract the accusations against Kocharyan regime. The bribery encounter was filmed on a hidden camera.

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Tavadyan (bottle and bribe charges) and co-defendants (bottle charges) appeared in court.

Prosecutors and the victim Gaspari argued that both cases (bottle and bribe) should be merged because they're done by the same person for similar reasons.

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The defense argued that 2 other defendants in the bottle case had nothing to do with the bribe case, so the cases should not be merged. "If you merge two cases it can be delayed".

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The court sided with the prosecutor/victim and merged two cases.

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Then they argued whether one of the co-defendants can appear in court without a lawyer. He refused a public council.

Defendant Tavadyan's lawyer argued that the other co-defendant also needs a lawyer even though he plead guilty last time.

This caught the co-defendant off guard, "When have I plead guilty? I only said let the justice system decide my fate." 🍿🍿🍿

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The trial resumed. Tavadyan asked the judge to lift the "illegal decision by prosecutor Hrach Musheghyan to arrest my assets. It is causing problems for my 5th Channel TV outlet."

The prosecutors had earlier arrested $100,000 cash they found in Tavadyan's house, office, and bank deposit box.

Verdict on August 7th.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191570

Tag: #Tavadyan #RobikSrika

COVID stats

+2,100 tested. +593 infected. +473 healed. +10 deaths.

115,765 tested. 11,010 active. 15,036 healed. 459 deaths.

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Healthcare Minister: emergency rooms remain full, with 1-2 free spots, barely enough to make sure serious cases aren't left out.

We have 650 serious and critical. Spitak and Martuni hospitals will soon join the fight.

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Artsakh has 24 active and 101 healed. 0 deaths.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191598 , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191597 , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191599

They found the grandma's body

Yesterday we learned how a doctor's bad handwriting resulted in an error that led to a body going missing from a morgue.

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It turns out strangers came and picked her up from the morgue, after mistaking her for their relative. She was buried in Nor Hachn.

Her body will be exhumed and re-buried in Gyumri.

For the love of God, please get a handheld printer 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191637 Vaccine negotiations

Healthcare Minister: there are 100 candidates for a vaccine. 20 of them have higher chances of success.

A small group of people take the samples in 3 phases. Then 10,000 do. The first stages already indicate we'll have multiple vaccines.

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When the vaccines are ready, they'll need to be distributed according to a strategy.

I negotiated with Moderna pharma, which is linked to diasporan-Armenian Nubar Afeyan. We're also negotiating with WHO, GAVI, and UNICEF to get the vaccines when they're ready.

We're concerned that a few countries can buy a bunch and force little countries to wait longer. That's why we're already negotiating.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191607

Vanadzor hospital will expand

... by building a new facility to house 45 patients, said Healthcare Minister.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191641

BHK and LHK will audit govt's handling of COVID

After the criminal charges were filed against BHK leader Tsarukyan, BHK began gathering a petition to audit govt's response to COVID. They asked LHK to join. The latter did. Today the Parliament formed the commission.

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They'll also audit whether the practice of dispersing large crowds/protests is legal during the pandemic. BHK argues govt is unnecessarily suppressing protests.

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The QP MPs earlier welcomed BHK's decision to form a commission, saying it'll allow them to highlight BHK's anti-mask-wearing campaign and "conspiracy theories".

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The creation of the commission comes a day after a public survey revealed that only 8% of Armenians blame the infections on the govt.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191634 , https://factor.am/265639.html

Education reforms / History of Church merged

Education Ministry drafted a bill to eliminate History of Church as a separate subject and merge its content with other subjects, for <6th classes.

Schools will have the flexibility to choose whether to merge or keep them separate, just as in the case of arts, singing, and painting.

The discussions and amendments begin in 10 days.

Full: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191552

Mayors and officials are busted

Paravaqar mayor is charged with selling an $18,000 public land for only $2,000 to his nephew in 2017.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191600

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Gyumri's social aid distribution chiefs are charged with extorting money from residents for years, and taking bribes in exchange for keeping them on the aid-recipient list.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191655

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Maratuk Cultural Center director is charged with embezzling $1,300 in taxpayer money by registering non-existent employees and stealing their salaries.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191640

Aerial Tramway in Gyumri / $615mln investment?

An Armenian company Armon wants to invest $610mln to build a 25km chopanughi (aerial tramway) in Gyumri.

"This is a dream come true," said mayor Balasanyan.

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Armon's CEO is a Gyumri native. He said: We need to make Gyumri more competitive with Yerevan and boost tourism. The world has $10trln laying around waiting to be invested, they just need ideas.

I return to Armenia to "pay my debt".

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Gyumri residents will pay $0.25 while Yerevantsis $2 (per 50 rides?)

Obviously, a question arises whether it's a financially sound decision. With $0.25 per ride, it would need 400k/day ridership for 10 years. Impractical?

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CEO says the construction of 25km trammy will cost $200mln. It'll have 15 stops with shopping malls and POIs which would generate extra income (much like Yerevan's proposed metro station).

The line travels through Gyumri suburbs. The first station will be near Meat Factory district.

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"We'll finish it in 3 years. Many jobs, including automated ones. Workers will operate robots," said CEO Khachatur Sargsyan.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191647

Kapan will have Armenia's longest zipline

The >1km line goes over residential buildings so you can see the city.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020313.html

Bill to guarantee bigger pensions for retired judges

In 2019 the Constitutional Court struck down a 2018 law that clarified public officials' pensions.

It also eliminated the law that guaranteed a pension size of 55% of salary for retired judges.

As a result, the judges get a pension size of everyone else. They complained, and so did the govt, which wants judges "secured" to reduce corruption.

QP MPs proposed an amendment to guarantee pension is no less than 75% of current salary.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191572

In memory of Karen Demirchyan...

... the govt allocated $125,000 to install his statue. (possibly in front of Hamalir)

The funding is part of a $3.3mln package to renovate dozens of schools.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191621

Infrastructure upgrades across Armenia

Aragatsotn province has 3x more infrastructure upgrades in 2020. 96 projects worth $7.9 million.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191575

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Gegharquniq's Lusakunq will have a new irrigation system and 1.4km long street lighting. $37,000 spent.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191578

Big trucks damaging the roads / Weigh them?

Infrastructure Minister: 30-ton semis often destroy the asphalt in the summer.

High Tech Minister: Russians offered us to install a roadside scale for trucks, as seen in Russia.

Pashinyan: we spend billions to build the roads but some people destroy them by overloading their trucks for the sake of earning few extra bucks. We need to install weigh-stations in 4 locations.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191626

South-Caucasus railways cuts prices in half / More trips

The Russian railway operator has reduced the Yerevan-Gyumri fare from $5 to $2.5.

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Before, the train would operate between the two cities on weekends, without in-between stops.

Now, a new train will operate every day while making stops in Armavir, Dalarik, etc.

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"Preliminary data about ridership is satisfactory," said a representative.

The price decrease was a result of negotiations with the Infrastructure Ministry. Additionally, the govt decided to subsidize some of railway's losses caused by COVID-related ridership decline.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191606

Elite wheat seeds to provide 30% higher yield / Farming 101

The govt decided to give subsidy to farmers so they can buy higher quality wheat seeds for below-market prices. This will produce 30% more wheat.

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The problem is, farmers usually keep wheat seeds from the current year's harvest to plant it in the following year. These 2nd generation seeds give a lower yield - only 1.8tons per hectare.

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Pashinyan: you can't replant it, folks. You need new seeds. This subsidy will last for 2 years. You'll need to start doing math. Save part of the revenue from today's harvest towards purchasing new seeds for tomorrow.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191615

Armavir began the apricot harvest

'nuff said.

Photos: https://hetq.am/hy/article/118942

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You're read 2056 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/hk36kv/jul22020_1_law_targets_foreign_tvs_2_rus_arm/

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. Helpful overview of Armenia's media ownership and leanings.


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