2020 March 5
- 1 Anti-Corruption Daily
- 2 Ceasefire violation / Azeri soldier killed
- 3 Tushonka's nephew's murder case re-opened / Robik's medal
- 4 criminal subculture figure raided
- 5 Serj & Co trial / Serj allowed to fly
- 6 banking secrecy laws / money laundering
- 7 մի կաթիլ կոֆեն / PM furious over vending machines
- 8 green agricultural initiative / competitiveness
- 9 HHK governor didn't violate property laws
- 10 your daily coronavirus briefing
- 11 hate speech law being discussed
- 12 Russian newspaper reportedly fires editors other anti-Armenian conspiracy theory
- 13 fake news about PM's trip cancellation
- 14 IRS uncovers tons of contraband
- 15 driver licenses revoked / DUI / stats
- 16 not just soldiers who eat good food
- 17 lavash rises / bread consumption decreases / more wealth
- 18 new programs to boost fertility
- 19 Heno meets President
- 20 Ladavia - Vay Aman
Mar/5/2020 --- Your daily news summarized --- Don't miss today's major stories on Anti-Corruption, Economy, Post-Revolution Changes, Politics, Diaspora, Daily Life, and more...
Ceasefire violation / Azeri soldier killed
For the past several weeks, the Azeri army has been firing at Armenia's North-Eastern Tavush region with artillery and snipers.
Today the Armenian army returned fire, killing Azeri soldier Paşazadə Orxan Nazimoğlu.
Tushonka's nephew's murder case re-opened / Robik's medal
General Manvel Tushonka Grigoryan, who was arrested in 2018 for embezzling aid meant for April-2016 soldiers, has a nephew who shot and killed businessman Mher Poghosyan during a restaurant fight in 1994.
Tushonka and his gang allegedly threatened the witnesses to keep quiet. The case was covered up as an accidental death. The nephew received only 1 year.
Later, documents were forged by General Tushonka and others to claim the victim died during military battles in the Martakert region.
President Robert Kocharyan then "sealed the deal" by issuing a post-mortem bravery medal to the murder victim.
Obviously, no proper legal procedure has been carried out... that is until now. Witnesses came forward after the revolution in 2018. That's when the case was re-opened, and the Cassation Court was asked to overthrow the previous 1-year sentence.
The Cassation Court has approved the petition due to new evidence (witnesses, etc.) being surfaced. A new trial will be held in Lower Court.
Tags: #ManvelGrigoryan #HrantGrigoryan
criminal subculture figure raided
Context on our today's antagonist Vstrechi Aper:
On Jan/13/2020 ArmTimes outlet published a report alleging that criminal subculture "thieve-in-law" figure Vstrechi Aper (Aram Vardanyan) was helping his friend, former NSS chief Arthur Vanetsyan, to coordinate a media campaign against Pashinyan's family.
By doing so, Vstrechi Aper was allegedly returning Vanetsyan the favor, because Vanetsyan allegedly informed Aper about his upcoming arrest, allowing Aper to escape Armenia. Vanetsyan was accused of abuse of power and insider leak.
What was Aper going to be arrested for? Kidnapping, Assault, robbery. He fled, got caught, extradited, but was released at the order of a judge.
Last night Aper was raided. His lawyer describes it as an "illegal attack by hundreds of cops who surrounded the house, cut the fences and intruded."
Police say the raid was part of an open investigation. They had an arrest warrant. Several people were detained. 2 people, including Aper's nephew, have been arrested.
This is part of the 2016 kidnapping and robbery case. Recently, 50 people were detained and questioned.
Tag: #VstrechiAper #ArthurVanetsyan
Serj & Co trial / Serj allowed to fly
Serj is going through a 0.5bln fuel theft trial. The court has allowed him to pay a work-visit to Europe.
banking secrecy laws / money laundering
The govt earlier approved a bill to allow law enforcement to check suspected money launderer's family bank accounts, to detect commonly instances of officials registering stuff under family names. The bill was sent to Constitutional Court for approval/rejection.
Pashinyan during govt session: Some people complain about the banking secrecy law, yet they aren't protected from a sneaky peeking while waiting in bank queues. We need to develop a culture of forming normal queue lines.
Central Bank chief: Banks have an electronic transaction system.
Pashinyan: Create short tutorial videos so people will learn how to use apps. I urge everyone to use apps instead of waiting in lines.
1st deputy PM Avinyan: one of the recent clips gained 100k views.
Pashinyan: that's not much. 20 million would be good. (first of all, there are no 20 million Armenians dude, second of all, why don't you post it on your Facebook)
մի կաթիլ կոֆեն / PM furious over vending machines
Pashinyan during govt session:
I asked coffee machines and supplies, in govt buildings, to be purchased through an auction to get the best deal. I've been informed that we have instances of direct purchases without auctions.
The vendors do not even pay a fee for placing their devices there. We should do an auction and collect fees from vendors. We spoke about this in 2018 but it looks like you've forgotten.
Pashinyan's chief of staff Aghajanyan responds:
That issue is present only in a few law enforcement departments. They're using an old govt decision that allowed them to choose their vendors without auction.
When I say there should be an auction now, does it matter if they were using an old decision that allowed them to handpick vendors? Scrap that old "decision".
You know, Mr. Aghajanyan, it's a big problem that I ask to do something then find out a year later that it wasn't done fully.
I'm publicly announcing now, that every govt agency should hold an auction to pick vending and payment machine providers, and they should pay a fee to govt for having their devices here.
State Property Management Committee chief: We've been gradually taking care of that issue.
Pashinyan: Excuse me, define "gradually"... 10 years? I found out about this from a letter sent by a citizen.
green agricultural initiative / competitiveness
Finance Ministry, agricultural businesses, NGOs, EU ambassador, and others met to discuss it.
"Agriculture shouldn't just be something that keeps farmers busy, it should bring profit."
Agriculture is ~15% of GDP and serves as a major job provider.
"Last time we helped 45 Armenian farmers by increasing their products' value and becoming more competitive abroad. Now, we'll promote green and organic agriculture, proper use of resources, and nature protection while farming," said the EU.
HHK governor didn't violate property laws
Yerevan municipality went after him.
Prosecutors found that Liska didn't violate the law because the law is written in a way to allow people to "violate the law" as long as it's on their land. These charges were dropped against Liska.
This isn't the first such story.
Last year, Yerevan municipality was incorrectly accused of taking a garbage truck as a bribe from a businessman, because opposition members found that Yerevan knew about businessman's illegal property construction, but didn't do anything about it.
It turns out, the businessman took advantage of the same law that allowed him to "violate rules" as long as it was on his land.
How prepared is Armenia to prevent the spread of a virus? According to PreventEpidemics measurement, it's very prepared. The higher the better (not a full list):
Azerbaijan N/A, Iran N/A, Turkey N/A
In Armenia, the flu and virus are under control. "If it continues like this, we'll resume schools next week," said Education Minister Arayik.
The military is taking steps to prevent infiltration by COVID. All personal visits are suspended. Other visits are done in a separate area, away from military units, under supervision.
The 31 Iranian-Armenians who're quarantined in a 5-star hotel will stay there until Mar-14. They have internet, so no problem there.
"Everybody is doing fine. We examined the infected man's wife and she's healthy. The virus is less infectious than we thought," said Healthcare Minister Torosyan.
"Sharp decline in new infections in China. Other countries like Iran, Italy, Korea are yet to reach their peak. If they take appropriate measures it'll decline 3 weeks after peak," said Healthcare Minister Torosyan.
4th Georgian was found wounded by COVID today. He's a young man who recently returned from Italy. He felt good upon arrival - no fever - but the symptoms began a few days later.
"Our traditional drink chacha can help fight COVID. If you mix it with water, you can use it as an antiseptic," said Georgian Healthcare Ministry official. (10 pushups a day, put coronavirus away)
You will die from coronavirus within 72 hours unless you share this thread with 10 healthy people.
hate speech law being discussed
Major political parties have been discussing "hate speech" law amendments. Justice Ministry submitted the draft bill for Parliament to discuss.
Incitement of physical violence or mental suffering. (as defined by Cassations Court precedence)
You can't incite violence against an individual, but the incitement against "groups" is poorly written.
You cannot incite violence against groups of people for them being who they are.
"Who they are" = Their political views, race, gender, genetic traits, language, religion, being poor/rich, disability, etc.
Direct incitement, approving and spreading someone else's incitement. Must be done on a mass scale to be punishable. If done during a "one-on-one" conversation, there won't be punishment.
From 50k fine to 1 year in prison. Per ECHR precedence, the more powerful the inciter, the harsher the punishment.
The MPs discussed examples of hate speech.
QP MP: if Robin Hood incites robbery against the "rich group", should the TV operator be punished for airing the cartoon?
A: the law takes into account the intent. Each case is examined separately. It's clear that the TV operator would not fall under the category because he isn't inciting violence.
QP MP: it's not really clear to me, because the way you wrote the law doesn't make it clear. Please fix.
A: we're open to suggestions. That's why we're here to discuss it.
A: technically, yes.
BHK MP: SHIT, NGRO, THAT'S ALL YOU HAD TO SAY
A: well, technically" yes, but not in practice.
BHK MP: we need to fix these loopholes. I support the general idea of punishing incitement of violence.
A: it's hard to define laws granularly. You can always find little gray areas here and there. We can never write a law that addresses all instances specifically. The general intent of the law is taken into account by law enforcement when they investigate.
BHK MP: if I "Like" a Facebook post that incites violence, am I approving and spreading incitement of violence? Let's discuss this.
A: the intent of the law is taken into account during legal procedures. "Liking" won't make a difference, but "Sharing" it could fall under "sharing an incitement of violence".
BHK MP: if I share a video of someone being beaten, and lots of curses, will I be punished?
MP: what is "mental suffering"?
A: right now it's not clearly defined, we're working on it. There is precedence set by Court and in several other laws that already exist in the Legal Code.
QP MP: isn't it too harsh to make it a felony?
A: not under current conditions of widespread incitements of violence on social media. This isn't viewed as a "heavy crime", however. (50k fine, or 1-year prison for severe cases, depending on inciter's position)
Tags: #HateSpeech #HateSpeechLaw
Russian newspaper reportedly fires editors other anti-Armenian conspiracy theory
Update: Last week we learned that the Armenian embassy in Russia contacted Russian authorities to report "incitement of ethnic hatred through fake news" by writers of a popular Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
The article published on Gazeta contained a fake conspiracy theory about Armenians allegedly organizing their own massacres in Baku, Azerbaijan. Azeri govt likes to peddle this nonsense because they feel blue about the fact that their ultra-nationalists got caught mutilating Azeri corpses near Khojali with an intention to blame it on Armenians and presenting Armenians as monsters.
The anti-Armenian article was written by an Azeri contributor Lev Askerov and approved by Gazeta's editors.
It appears that Gazeta's chief editor has fired 2 of his 3 aides. Their names were removed from the website.
Azeri govt launched a campaign to support the peddlers.
fake news about PM's trip cancellation
Fake news was circulated by Robik's "7or" media outlet, citing its sources, alleging that Russia has canceled Pashinyan's upcoming visit as a rebuke for "mistreating Kocharyan".
IRS uncovers tons of contraband
IRS handles border import clearance. Recently they busted lots of unregistered drug smuggling.
Today they busted several trucks loaded with 12 tons of unregistered car oil materials and drugs. What's noteworthy is that the trucks were supposed to be cleared at the border, but the border agents "let them go". The trucks were caught by IRS's investigative division later. A felony investigation is launched.
driver licenses revoked / DUI / stats
A new points-based driver license system was implemented with tougher penalties.
290 drivers lost their licenses in February alone.
215 for severe DUI - instant revokation
19 for repeated mild DUI - revocation after 2nd incident
11 for avoiding a DUI test - instant revocation
6 for running from cops
5 գյամշ for installing police sirens illegally
1 for altering plates
Additional 110 drivers were caught with mild DUIs and will have their licenses revoked if caught again within 12 months.
not just soldiers who eat good food
Justice Ministry earlier brought the private "good food" initiative to the penitentiary system. Abovyan and Goris prisons will join the initiative and get served by Ready-Steady food firm.
lavash rises / bread consumption decreases / more wealth
Chief of a food-consumption monitoring Agency says Yerevan's adult residents have been eating less bread in the past few years, which indicates a quality of life improvement.
Since bread, pasta, flour products, and potato are cheap and calorie-rich, the low-income population relies on them. A decrease in its consumption indicates an increase in income.
It's also about the young generation better caring about their health and weight, which is another indication of increasing wealth.
In 2019, bread consumption reached a record low 150gram/day, with 99.8% of the population consuming bread.
8 years ago it was 220g, with some years reaching 310g.
Within the bread category, lavash's share increased from 30g/day to 60g/day. (almost half of the consumed bread in Yerevan is now lavash)
Share of people eating only lavash rose from 2% to 5%.
The Agency chief recommends carbohydrates not exceed 60% of the pyramid. "Diversify the source of calories."
new programs to boost fertility
Earlier the Govt approved a 2020-2023 framework to boost the birthrate. More money, childcare subsidies, housing for new couples, etc.
The govt decided to issue +1.9bln for Healthcare Ministry to launch a campaign to thoroughly check 15yo girl's thyroid and hormones during routine checkups.
It's expected to reduce future primary infertility and add +150 babies/year.
Some of the money will be used on better treating pregnant women before birth to reduce fatality.... ~300 babies.
More funds to help 1-in-6 couples who currently have infertility (pretty high rate). The number of qualified couples who'll receive treatment will 3x... That's another ~350 additional babies.
And more interestingly, a new system will be implemented that screens couples before they get married and finds possible reproductive issues and helps them manage it on time, before it gets worse and causes infertility.
The 3,000 annual premature births are expected to reduce by 10%... And extra 250 babies.
Heno meets President
President Sarkissian met and congratulated Henrikh Mkhitaryan with his first newborn child
Ladavia - Vay Aman
French-Armenian music group:
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.
Link to original report and comments: https://old.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/fe26y7/mar52020_your_daily_news_summarized_dont_miss/
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