2020 March 1
Mar/1/2020 -- News collection from Armenia. Stay informed about the ongoing Anti-Corruption, Economy, Major Changes, Politics, Constitutional Court Crisis, Diaspora, Daily Life, 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.
Former HHK MP's American houses / Broken laws
MP Arthur Gevorgyan is the son-in-law of former police chief Vladimir Gasparyan. In May/9/2019 he was accused of embezzlement during his 2009 rule as Davtashen District chief.
Hetq outlet says he violated the Armenian law several times while making real estate transactions abroad. Outlet writes:
MP was a boxer. He finished 5th in the 1996 Olympics. Won bronze in the 1998 Euro. Serving as Armenian Boxing Federation chief since 2013.
2005-2008: deputy chief of Davtashen
2008-2012: chief of Davtashen
2012-2018: HHK MP
Aug-2015 he took a $320k mortgage loan and purchased a $520k estate in Glendale, CA. He didn't mention this in the 2015 property ownership declaration form required for MPs.
Jul-2016 he took a $285k loan and purchased another $475k apartment in Valley Village, Los Angeles. He didn't mention this in the 2016 mandatory declaration form either.
In Autumn-2016, Armenian media wrote about his apartment dealings. The MP claimed the media mistook his identity with one of the many similarly-named Armenians living in California. He denied owning houses in the US.
A few months after the news broke out, the MP created a firm named Arvivi and transferred the ownership of both apartments under the firm's name, possibly to hide his ownership.
His signature on official Armenian documents matches that of Arvivi's director, proving that this is not a random similarly-named person.
Arvivi's owner and the director are listed as the MP himself. This violates the Armenian law regulating MPs.
MP also broke a law by not declaring that he sold a property to Arvivi.
After leaving Parliament, in Mar-2019 he (Arvivi) sold the Valley Village apartment for +$40k. A month later he paid off the $285k mortgage.
The same day he sold the Glendale apartment for +$160k. He quickly paid the mortgage on this one, too.
In Mar-2019 he purchased a $1,525,000 house in Glendale with an $800,000 loan. His wife, aka the former police chief's daughter, signed a deed agreeing that the MP is the sole owner of the house [less likely to die in an accident, I guess].
In Feb-23-2020 he mentioned his "The Arthur Gevorgyan Living Trust" as a co-owner.
https://hetq.am/hy/article/113726 Coronavirus in neighborhood
Azerbaijan shut down the border with Iran for 2 weeks. Airline companies suspended their operations. The country recorded the 3rd infection over the weekend. They traveled from Iran. 224 are under quarantine.
Azeri social media spread rumors about alleged hundreds of cases of COVID, and one confirmed death related to lung infection but not yet confirmed/denied whether it was caused by COVID.
Claimes were made that COVID has reached the Azeri border guards and IRS agents, and that this is allegedly the reason why Aliyev instructed high ranking officials to take care of the southern borders instead of visiting the border with Armenia, where an Armenian sniper recently killed an Azeri soldier.
The M3 highway connecting to Iran was shut down by the forces. Iranian visitors were quarantined and kept in poor conditions. Some complained about unsanitary conditions in hospitals and poor qualify food handling practices, and lack of running water.
Azeri govt deployed internal forces to control the situation
Georgia recorded its 3rd case. The traveler came from Iran.
5 Iranian MPs caught the virus, 1 has died. Total >600 infections and 43 deaths.
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181831 bololavirus strikes Armenia
The first case was recorded on Sunday in a 29yo visitor from Iran. He came in one of the earlier mentioned special flights from Iran (check out my Friday post), among with his wife. He is doing fine. His wife isn't infected.
People who had close contact with him will be quarantined and monitored; this includes the friend who gave him a ride from the airport and others who serviced them.
30 people were quarantined. A hotline was created.
As a precautionary measure, QP canceled the march dedicated to the memory of March 1st, 2008 victims that was planned on Sunday.
False information was circulated about Georgia canceling flights to Armenia over coronavirus fears. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181826
Healthcare Minister Torosyan: once the weather warms, the virus's spread will decrease. Let's not kiss each other or shake hands while greeting for now, until the virus is defeated [French Health Minister made a similar suggestion]. We're housing the quarantined people in a building formerly known as Golden Palace Hotel in Tsakhkadzor [the laundered hotel that was recovered by govt after the revolution].
"I myself came from South Korea recently. I feel good do not plan to take the COVID test, so I can infect you all," joked the Minister while coughing unironically.
To convince that COVID isn't as bad as it may sound, he showed an image comparing it to other viruses, which showed that a single patient with COVID infects significantly fewer healthy people (2.5 people) than many other viruses.
"We've done 114 tests so far with 113 being negative. 165k masks were imported with 50k on its way. We're equipped with precautionary tools and tests better than many developed countries," said Minister Torosyan.
"We have the ability to test 1,000 people for COVID. 3,000 more test kits will arrive soon."
Some Tsakhkadzor hotel patrons decided to cancel their bookings after learning that the quarantined patients were in (former) Golden Palace in Tsakhkadzor. They might have thought the patients were in other (functioning) Golden Palace locations.
Pashinyan said the patients are isolated and there is no need to leave Tsakhkadzor. He decided to spend the night with the family at a Tsakhkadzor hotel while visiting there.
Pashinyan shared a video of doctors in hazmat suits distributing food to the dozens of people quarantined in the (former) Golden Palace Hotel. "They are getting a 5-star treatment," joked the PM.
Nobody else is staying in that building right now. That's the building that the govt confiscated. They're looking for a buyer for that building.
Human Rights Ombudsman said: the govt should provide COVID updates quickly and the public should avoid falling for possible fake news meant to stir panic. So far so good.
Education Ministry decided to move the Spring breaks from late-March to March 2nd, for a duration of 1 week, to reduce the possible spread of virus and address parents' concerns. Schools, preschools, Universities will close.
Yerevan municipality decided to suspend classes in its musical, sports, and art schools.
Pashinyan walked around Yerevan to distribute "YES" booklets [1,000 copies in 2 hours] for the April referendum, and to ask residents what they think about coronavirus. People DGAF about the virus.
"Bro, ախպերական, can you please make changes to the road construction project and fix the Sisian-Goris portion first?" asked one man after noticing Pashinyan roaming on the streets. "It'll be fixed, we're fixing the roads," replied the PM.
PM visited pharmacies to find out what people buy the most, how things are going, whether they have masks and alcohol wipes in storage.
NSS details about Azeri fake video
Last week the NSS chief said the video of an alleged Azeri spy mocking the Armenian intel agencies while filming objects in Yerevan, was fake, and the audio was attached to someone else's old video.
The video was first circulated by an Armenian Facebook user Gor-Madig Grigoryan, who says he received the clip from a Facebook friend named Davoud Gajiyev via chat.
Davoud Gajiyev claimed to be an Azeri dissident against the Azeri regime. This won the trust of the Armenian user, and they became friends a while ago.
NSS found that it's an edited video of a 2018 clip. The real author of the original video is a woman who filmed the Yerevan Mall and spoke about it.
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181838 military contract with India
Armenia has signed a $40mln contract to purchase 4 mobile "Swathi Weapon Locating Radar" stations from India, after rejecting offers from Russia and Poland. Indian outlet says the delivery process has begun.
These units are used by India to detect artillery and rocket fire coming from Pakistan. It can detect multiple objects within a 50km radius.
https://www.timesnownews.com/india/article/india-bags-us-40-million-defence-deal-to-supply-four-radar-systems-to-armenia/559596?fbclid=IwAR14aY9mMiMbyDAfoq94WJBkzH9HytpyGwhQcdZq7A3pRBm8cwHv-QYEMkY tourism grows / low-cost double the expectations
Tourism from Italy +20% in Jan-2020. Dozens of other routes from Europe are expected this year. The new budget flights are expected to make it better.
Last year Civil Aviation was expecting 140,000 people to use the low-cost airlines RyanAir and WizzAir combined. The companies are now expecting 270,000 travelers.
Civil Aviation Chief Revazyan: this tourism growth can have a significant impact on the economy with thousands of new jobs.
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181827 obtaining passports to become easier for diasporans
Passport rules will pretty soon change. The 6-month waiting period will become ~3 months. Diasporans will be able to get passports abroad instead of being required to visit Armenia. Less bureaucracy with fewer trips to different agencies to get several papers.
You have been briefed.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/fc3kkw/mar12020_news_collection_from_armenia_stay/
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