2020 June 28

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Jun/28/2020 News: (1) Radical changes to school grading (2) GMO food to be marked (3) Fewer army deaths (4) Tsarukyan's co-conspirator (5) Points-based traffic law (6) COVID news & tickets (7) Road repairs (8) Activist arrested (9) Gentrification (10) Constitutional Court (11) Fires (12) Orphan kids
by ar_david_hh


Education Ministry proposes a radical reform to 1-10 scale

No one will fail and stay in the same class in public schools anymore, if a proposed bill is passed.

The 1-10 scale will exclusively show how good the student is. The lower-digits won't be a "fail".

https://factor.am/264344.html

Constitutional Court (CC) has a new president

Three CC judges were recently fired and CC president Tovmasyan was demoted.

Pashinyan congratulated the new automatically-promoted acting president Khachatryan, wishing him success and wisdom.

"We'll do our best to ensure CC continues its work during this transitional period," said PM.

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The acting president Khachatryan met Parliament Speaker Mirzoyan to discuss the recent events and CC's un-interrupted work schedule.

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Judge Ashot Khachatryan was appointed by HHK in 2010.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191251 , https://factor.am/264248.html

Tsarukyan's alleged voter fraud co-conspirator arrested

The court earlier refused to arrest BHK chief Gagik Tsarukyan for his alleged voter buying and financial fraud, yet the court [another judge] arrested an ex-BHK MP Abraham Manukyan for allegedly aiding Tsarukyan with voter fraud.

The ex-MP was mentioned as a suspect weeks ago when the prosecutors read Tsarukyan's charges.

The ex-MP's defense called the arrest verdict "illegally harsh" and vowed to challenge it soon.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191257 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191259

Police asks Parliament to amend the points-based traffic rules

A bill was passed to establish a points-based traffic punishment system. Drivers get 1-3 points for various violations. 9 points = license is suspended. Some violations began instantly revoking the license.

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The law is supposed to be implemented gradually. By 2021 the police would give points for more types of violations.

For that, the police would need more equipment. They don't think they can get the equipment on time, so they suggest delaying parts of the law until 2022.

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They also observed how drivers behaved and made other suggestions.

They suggest harsher punishment for not having license plates, and increasing one particular serious violation's penalty from $50 to $200.

They also recommend a $1,000 penalty for driving 50mph over the limit, instead of suspending license for 1 year.

Or an $850 penalty instead of suspension for driving under narcotics.

The proposed changes will need to be discussed in Parliament.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191159

COVID stats

+4,127 tests conducted (Saturday 105046, Sunday 109173). If it's accurate, this means they somehow doubled the testing capacity.

+736 infected. +205 healed. +12 deaths.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191231 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191269

Self-lockdown

Healthcare Minister: let's have a conscious self-lockdown instead of a government-mandated lockdown.

Stop the birthday parties. No guests on weekends. No social events or picnics. No backyard events. Try not to socialize up-close. Stay home.

Wear the mask properly and stay 2m away if you must leave your home. THERE IS NO OTHER SOLUTION.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191275

oooof uncle Sam loves COVID

50,000 tickets worth ~$1mln have been issued for safety violations since the Emergency declaration.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191245

God save the queen maskless

Healthcare Minister: here is a video from St. Hovhannes chapel in Ghaltakhchi. No masks. No social distancing. Words are unnecessary...

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191279

Roaming around Gyumri and Yerevan

Nature Inspectors joined the police to distribute masks on Gyumri streets. "People usually respect safety," they observed.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=345251926446785

--

The police traveled and gave away masks in Yerevan.

https://youtu.be/VHGIiomxK7U

Hardline traditionalist activist arrested over threats

An ultra-traditionalist activist Narek Sargsyan earlier went berserk after a group of women staged an abstract art near Cascade, during which they read Charents's lyrics while doing weird dances.

The activist poured ink on the performers and expressed regret that the "the gays weren't exterminated back in 1990s".

More recently, in May 2020, he went on Facebook and made physical threats while ranting against Pashinyan, ruling QP party members, and their supporters.

The police arrested and charged the activist with hooliganism over the threats.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191248 , https://web.archive.org/web/20200521185153/https://www.yerkir.am/news/view/199719.html

Property tax reform raises gentrification concerns

After decades of being left untouched, the property taxes will gradually increase to address abnormally low taxes on expensive properties. Details here.

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A group of opponents argued that the lonely seniors who inherited an apartment in Yerevan center would be forced to sell the apartments due to the inability to pay the taxes.

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MP: the lonely grandmas can take advantage of a law that reduces their tax burden, given by local municipalities to their low-income residents. We could further improve this law.

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Other opponents who generally oppose the tax hike organized an online flash mob, led by popular actor Hrant Tokhatyan. "I'm a native (բնիկ) Yerevan resident and this is my city. Native Yerevantsis must act now if we don't want to lose our apartments tomorrow," said the actor.

There was some criticism for the protestors' fixation on their "nativeness".

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QP MP Tunyan: I invite you to Parliament to discuss the concerns. Form a group of 7 people. It doesn't matter if you're a Yerevan native or not.

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QP MP Yeghoyan gives details about the law: 80% of your property's market value is taxable, not the 100%. Your $100k property will be treated as if it's $80k.

There are only 10,000 apartments valued over $125,000 across Armenia. Obviously, not everyone in Yerevan Center.

There was lots of talk about lonely senior grandmas living in astronomically expensive apartments in Center.

What do you think, what percent of those apartments belong to these grandmas, and what percent belong to contractor workers or businessmen? BTW the latter two's income taxes were reduced by 5%/1% beginning this year.

The taxes are paid gradually. 25% in 2021, 30% in 22, 35% in 23, 50% in 24, 75% in 25, 100% in 26.

--

(what if the rich begin to declare their mansions under their "poor grandma"s names? 🤔)

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191288 , https://factor.am/264390.html , http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/282408/ , http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/282410/ , https://a1plus.am/hy/article/372544

GMO food must be marked

EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union) trade bloc's law is now active in Armenia. Any food containing >1% GMO ingredients must have a GMO tag on the box.

Some EU countries flat-out prohibit GMO in food.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/118782

Army deaths decrease after Jan-Feb incidents

There were a series of suicides and murders in the army at the beginning of 2020. The public began discussing, and investigations were carried out.

The number of monthly deaths went down 2-3x since then.

--

So far in 2020...

Armenia: 2 combat, 21 non-combat.

Azerbaijan: 5 combat, 20 non-combat.

https://razm.info/143607

update: large fire near Hamalir

On Friday we learned about a big fire near Hamalir sports center forests.

The strong winds spread it around. No damage to nearby museums.

"Fireworks from restaurants are a major problem," said Yerevan official, vowing to investigate further.

24 fire trucks and 121 rescuers extinguished the 21 ha area in 3 hours.

--

The next day on Saturday, another fire broke out near Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial near Hamalir. This time the damaged trees' roots were burning. It took 30min to extinguish.

--

Fireworks are the main suspect at the moment.

--

https://youtu.be/jC2T1XSCNgo

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191228 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191272 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1019848.html

Hrazdan gorge fire

A day after Hamalir fire, another fire broke out near Hrazdan gorge's Florence Restaurant, not far away from Hamalir.

46 firefighters extinguished 4 ha area.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191263 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191267

say my name

Heisenberg traveled from Iran to Meghri, Armenia and managed to smuggle 5 kilos of blue crystal meth through the border check.

Upon arrival, he wrapped the narcotics in his fiance's luggage and attempted to fly to Japan with it.

Zvartnots security caught the merch and called the cops. Heisenberg confessed and gave reasons for a lenient sentence.

He will serve 12 years.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/118785

Repatriating orphanage children with parents

The govt adopted a plan to return orphanage children to their families, after agreeing with parents, while providing parental classes, financial aid, and utility subsidies to the parents.

2/3rd of Gyumri's #2 orphanage kids have already repatriated. The parents also get a bi-weekly 53lb box filled with aid.

What was meant to be spent on a child in the orphanage is given to parents.

75 orphanage workers were laid off. They'll be prioritized by the Labor Ministry's job-finding department.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191164

What other road repairs are happening?

Gegharquniq's Yeranos will soon renovate 3 of its residential roads which feed the main road, after announcing an auction for contracts. These roads serve 500 businesses.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191222

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Gyumri's 22 roads and 1 park will be repaired soon with the help of the European Reconstruction Bank. "Experienced construction firm recently won some contracts."

Another 17 roads will be repaired with Armenian funds.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1019907.html

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Tavush's Berdavan is having its first major road repair in 40 years, say the residents.

https://lurer.com/?p=374647&l=am

Kanye West did what Armenians couldn't for centuries

He got Ararat.

Kanye's Yeezy Mafia shoe brand produced an all-white shoe titled Ararat. It sold out in 20 hours.

https://twitter.com/theyeezymafia/status/1276551746626650112?s=21

https://factor.am/264269.html


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/hhnmwm/jun282020_news_1_radical_changes_to_school/

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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