2020 July 8

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Jul/8/2020 news: (1) ECHR rejects judges' plea (2) Making Yerevan safer (3) Court strikes down Tsarukyan verdict (4) Armenia's abandoned villages (5) Fake news & COVID (6) Foxy LHK (7) Bills & Reforms (8) Road repair w/warranty (9) Bloody river (10) Artsakh tightens rules (11) Foreign affairs (12)..
by ar_david_hh


European Court for Human Rights rejects fired CC judges' emergency petition

The 3 fired Constitutional Court judges, joined by the 4th demoted one, had asked the ECHR to rapidly discuss their case and suspend the law that fired them.

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ECHR rejected their petition because there is "no risk of irreversible damage" thus there is no need to rush.

The ex-judges can still sue Armenia in ECHR, but they have to go through the long route that could take years.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192133

Appeals Court overturns ruling that kept Tsarukyan free

Earlier the Lower Court ruled that even though there is enough probable cause about election fraud and financial crimes, BHK leader Tsarukyan doesn't need to be arrested pre-trial.

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Prosecutors asked Appeals Court to strike it down so Tsarukyan can be arrested.

Tsarukyan asked Appeals Court to strike it down because they didn't agree that probable cause existed.

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Today the Appeals Court struck it down and sent it back to Lower Court. Not many details.

Tsarukyan plans to challenge today's verdict saying that Constitutional Court prohibits such cases from being returned to Lower Court.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192063

Constitutional Court judge's appointment procedure

On Jun/302020 the Parliament passed a bill to regulate how CC judges will be nominated. Changes were made "to make it more fair". The pension for the 3 fired CC judges was also clarified.

President Sarkissian, without giving a reason, refused to sign the bill, even though he has 21 days to decide. People speculated that his premature refusal to sign gives the Parliament Speaker the authority to sign it immediately.

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Parliament Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan won't sign it now. "The majority of legal experts believe that we must wait 21 days. Maybe the President changes his mind. If he doesn't, I'll sign it."

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It's likely that the 3 new CC judges will be nominated and approved after this bill goes into effect.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192072

Salary bonuses for MPs

Speaker Mirzoyan: in average, each of 132 MPs received $500 in salary bonuses for the past 14 months of work. The rumors about "millions" isn't true. The bonuses are appropriate.

14 govt-funded padavat work vehicles were eliminated.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192077

Defamation lawsuit over "cigarette smuggling" story

Get the context and facts about the "Cigarette Smuggling" story here. TLDR: Former regime members accused Pashinyan's family of smuggling cigarettes.

They named Pashinyan's wife's brother (QP MP Hrachya Hakobyan) as the organizer.

The MP sued them for alleged defamation.

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Today the MP shared court documents in which the defendant claims he wasn't referring to MP as the smuggler, because he used MP's "title" instead of MP's name.

The defendant is Arthur Danielyan, the co-leader of Adekvad street gang-turned political party.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192097

Can I have more Parliament seats, please?

LHK MP Babajanyan earlier quit and became INDependent. Now LHK wants to "restore" their lost seat by gaining a new seat out of thin air.

QP argued that this would open the door for every MP to quit, stay loyal to their party, while giving their party the ability to gain extra seats without elections.

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Today the Electoral Committee unanimously rejected LHK's plea, saying that Babajanyan didn't quit Parliament, he only quit LHK.

LHK then offered to "fire" IND MP Babajanyan and return his seat to LHK. It was rejected. "Babajanyan is serving QP's interests," complained LHK.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192085 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192085

Inmates with serious health problems

3 inmates with health problems have died in 2020 while waiting for the system to decide whether their restrictions should be eased.

Justice Ministry proposed a bill to require prosecutors and judges to prioritize and expedite these cases.

https://factor.am/266966.html

Court order needed to suspend construction

Govt and LHK wrote a bipartisan bill to require a court order to freeze a building construction. Today it's automatically frozen when someone files a complaint with the city.

Parliament voted 86-0.

https://factor.am/267070.html

1 million birds and sea animals die every year...

... because of plastic shopping bags, said 1st Lady Hakobyan after uploading a photo of the plastic mess she created after a grocery trip.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192041

Road repair comes with warranty

A 1.5km road connecting Getahovit, Tavush to a highway was repaired for the first time since 1980s. It'll boost tourism.

A foreign company tasked with monitoring the quality has approved the job. The govt will monitor the quality for a year and get free repairs if problems arise.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192089

Armanis gold mine pollutes a river

Armanis mayor found that a nearby gold mine is pouring colorful toxic waste into nearby Dzoraget.

The police and inspectors came to examine. They took water samples and sent them to the Lori governor's office.

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"This isn't the first time. It's been happening for years, but more frequently in the past 3 years. Last time it killed some fish. The miner refuses to cooperate with us. They change a leadership every 7 months and we have to re-negotiate all over again," said the mayor.

Pics: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192100

COVID stats

+2,083 tested. +535 infected. +520 healed. +18 deaths.

127,171 tested. 11,708 active. 17,427 healed. 521 deaths.

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Artsakh has +5 infections. Two of them are new hotspots. Govt is identifying circles.

29 active. 112 healed. 2437 tested.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192045 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192051

Artsakh tightens restrictions / Mandatory self-quarantine

Until now everyone was required to get tested before entering Arstakh. Now everyone will be required to self-quarantine upon arrival even if they test negative.

Rapid kits are used at the border. They cost $15 after a govt subsidy.

You can get tested in Armenia within 3 days of visiting Artsakh to avoid a border test.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192117

COVID mask rule exceptions

Emergency Taskforce amended the mask requirement to allow people with certain medical conditions to walk in open-air without a mask.

A doctor's note is required. The exemption applies only to open-air locations.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192059

COVID fake news around French doctors

Hraparak and other Roboserj outlets circulated "fake news" that the govt paid inexperienced French doctors to visit Armenia, without French govt's knowledge, under the guise of great friendship and volunteering.

FIP fact-checker found that the mission was funded by USAID and the French embassy in Armenia.

As for doctors' experience, the team was lead by experienced professor Alexander Minyon and Loran Papazyan, "one of the best experts in France".

More: https://fip.am/12130

update: Azeri epidemiologist resigns

Earlier we learned how Azerbaijan's chief epidemiologist went to a remote village "without news or internet" and told everyone to contact Healthcare Ministry instead.

He "resigned" today.

https://factor.am/267016.html

Building demolition in Yerevan

"Snowy Fridge" warehouse was boom-ed. The middle section was preserved so they can extract the functional elevators first.

https://youtu.be/d-w3gumXGtg?t=372

White House clarifies its Genocide stance

Earlier Trump's spokesm'lady used the term "Armenian Genocide" while speaking about a vandalized memorial. Turkish govt got upset.

White House clarified there hasn't been an official change in their stance.

Donald Trump: Meds Yeghern was a historic crime. The United States stands with the Armenian people.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192061

Greek Parliament has ratified

...the EU-AM comprehensive cooperation agreement. Only the Greek Communist Party voted against.

Press F to vote No.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192060

Iran doesn't Armenia's move to...

... open an embassy in Israel. "We respect Armenia's decision," said the Iranian official.

[Link was lost]

Vaghashen mayor is charged

... with embezzling $6,000 in 2017-18.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020936.html

Can you find Waldo at night?

Drivers urged Yerevan to give street cleaning ladies new pants because the black ones don't reflect at night, unlike the tops. "I almost hit one who was jaywalking."

City says they're equipped with reflective jackets that should be worn at all times. "We'll investigate."

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192086

Pharmacy's green cross confuses drivers

Pharmacies usually install a green cross above the sidewalks to lure customers. Some drivers mistake them for a green traffic light while making a turn.

QP proposed a bill to regulate the shape and location of signs.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020996.html

Here is why Yerevan reduced its speed limit

Yerevan's speed limit was lowered from 50mp/h to 35mp/h, impacting 8 streets.

Across the city, 29 out of 1000 car crash victims die.

In the streets where the speed limit was above 35mph, the death rate was 53 out of 1000, almost the double.

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These 8 streets are 5% of all streets, but that's where 11% of all crashes and 21% of all deaths occur.

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The uniform speed limit is also expected to reduce traffic jams by establishing an uninterrupted flow.

"We can always reverse the decision if it doesn't help."

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192101 , https://youtu.be/9l-3WCfhJB0

Tag: #SpeedLimit #YerevanStreets

Two mortgage subsidy plans for young families to boost demographics

If the mother already has children

The downpayment will be partially subsidized by the govt if the family buys a <$65,000 apartment outside of Yerevan and has 2 underage children.

Every additional child increases the price of a qualified apartment by $10,000.

The subsidy is $2,100-$4,200 if the >30yo mother has 2 to 4+ children.

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When a new child is born

The family receives a subsidy to repay the mortgage loan. If the child was born after July/1/2020, and they don't have a record of too many late payments.

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The size of aid depends on the mother's age. Govt wants to encourage giving birth at a younger age because they're more likely to give birth again.

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If the <25yo mother has 1-2 kids the aid is $3,100. For >2 kids it reaches $8,300.

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If the mother is >25yo and has 1-2 kids, the aid is $1,000. For >2 kids it's $4100.

The project will cost $1mln in 2020.

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https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192056

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/192056

Abandoned villages... How to revive them? / Investment projects

There are 32 villages without residents. Many were depopulated during the CCCP-era urbanization.

In 1996 govt passed the Administrative-Territorial Division Law to regulate mini-towns that are consisted of multiple small settlements.

Today we also have such cluster-towns. They are controversial because some residents and politicians don't like these mergers, which centralizes the power in the nearby big settlement's hands.

In recent years, the govt refrained from officially erasing the abandoned villages from the registry, under the fear that they'd be accused of further politicizing the already controversial merger law.

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Infrastructure Ministry says the lack of irrigation isn't the true reason why the settlements were emptied.

"CCCP govt didn't find these settlements prospective. Instead of building factories and jobs, they relocated people to cities that already had the infrastructure."

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So what do we do with them?

Someone has to live there for a settlement to develop. In some cases, it's impossible because today these settlements are part of Khosrov Forests.

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Settlement ideas.

There is a wealthy Iranian-Armenian investor who wants to create "social settlement" in available areas. They built one in Iran and want to replicate it in Armenia.

"Give me an abandoned village. I'll build houses, a well, solar plant, farms, schools. People who settle there won't own the property. If they leave, they'll leave the properties behind," said the diasporan investor.

The Ministry is looking for available areas for this project. It isn't easy to find one. Despite settlements being abandoned, people still own lands in there. You can't just take them.

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Another idea.

A group of investors purchased a 70ha land near Balahovit, Abovyan. They want to build a Smart City.

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Some individuals already want to move there.

A family from Georgia's Javakhq recently asked the govt for land in one of these settlements, but the govt rejected, saying the land is already owned by someone.

In another instance, a proposed settlement was abandoned after investors feared that it would be politicized because it was going to be built in Askipar, which is one of those land patches that "belongs to a neighbor" but it's completely within Armenia.

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The Ministry is looking for suitable lands for investment projects.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191910

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You've read 1953 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/hnp6ti/jul82020_news_1_echr_rejects_judges_plea_2_making/

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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