2020 March 6

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Mar/6/2020 --- Your daily news summarized --- Don't miss today's major stories on Anti-Corruption, Economy, Post-Revolution Changes, Politics, Diaspora, Daily Life, and more...
by ar_david_hh

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.

Update: criminal subculture figure Vstrechi Aper

Yesterday we learned that criminal subculture figure Vstrechi Aper's house was raided. It was assumed that it was over his 2016 kidnapping case.

Now it appears it was over the alleged kidnapping and confirmed shooting that happened in Yerevan a few days ago. Aper's nephew and Aper's neighbors are the suspects.

2 people were shot and hospitalized on Tuesday. On Thursday, the cops raided Aper's house and arrested his nephew and the neighbor. The investigation continues.

--

Vstrechi Aper gave an interview to anti-Pashinyan outlet Hraparak during which he claimed that he's provided aid to many people in the past, including QP MP Hayk Gevorgyan who was Pashinyan-owned ArmTimes outlet's journalist who was arrested in 2012.

The QP MP denied the claims: "I was only detained for 3 days and never needed anyone's support, including Aper's. He's is lying about holding a phone conversation in jail. I spent those 3 days doing nothing but eating and sleeping, which was great because my schedule at ArmTimes outlet was very busy and I needed a break." https://youtu.be/cKrcmdrNEV8?t=99

Aper also claimed to have provided some aid to Nikol Pashinyan in 2009 while the latter was arrested over the 2008 protests.

--

Vstrechi Aper has ties with the former NSS chief Arthur Vanetsyan and helped him coordinate a fake news media campaign against the Pashinyan family very recently, [according to a recent article by ArmTimes.](On Jan/13/2020](https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/eoa1sq/jan132020_daily_news_collection_from_armenia_stay/)

--

Criminal subculture figures have long been viewed as a "go-to" place to "fix" problems. Last month the govt passed a bill to criminalize subculture gangs, recruitment, membership.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182315

Shooting: https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182170

https://hraparak.am/post/393dda1a454094c01764d7996eae2301

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/182345

Update: Kocharyan & Co trial

Judge Anna Danibekyan rejected Rob's recusal plea. The next trial is on Mar-10.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182341

Azeri army infiltration blocked

Yesterday, a weeklong border shootout resulted in an escalation which led to the death of 1 Azeri soldier.

Later that night, Azeris attempted to infiltrate Armenian positions. It was a well-planned operation. They used a German-made landmine detector to clear their path but were detected and neutralized.

1 Azeri soldier was killed while the rest fled back. 1 Armenian was lightly wounded.

PICS: https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182293

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182284

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1007522.html

Army spokesman becomes a tutor

Long-time army spokesman and military expert Artsrun Hovhanisyan will quit the job as the army press secretary and become a teacher in the military. "In my 23 years in the military I've always dreamed of being a military educator," said Hovhanissyan while thanking the colleagues.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182328

soldiers get apartments

44 more officers and their families received free apartments in Gyumri. It's a routine thing.

PICS: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/182360

Ilham mad about Armenian names

Azeri President Aliyev got mad during a trip to a cultural center in Baku. That is because some geolocation names on a map were in Armenian, as they should be.

We're talking about Urartu-era events during which there was no Azerbaijan. He instructed the staff to add Azeri-named cities while removing Armenian names for Dilijan, Sevan, Hrazdan. BOOM. Problem solved.

VIDEO: https://youtu.be/tt0ais1FGzo

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1007596.html

Pashinyan gets owned

Pashinyan traveled around Yerevan and distributed YES booklets to promote the upcoming constitutional court referendum. One woman tore it apart and threw it at PM. "This is what democracy is. Our greatest achievement is that this woman won't be forced to be fired from her job or get persecuted for her views," responded PM.

https://www.facebook.com/101770184637737/videos/2580283118928052/

--

His daughters joined him to distribute the propaganda in buses and metro.

https://youtu.be/Kuus49OPNVw?t=20

Parliament passes Education reform bill

Parliament gave 117 votes to pass an Education Ministry reform to allow online classes. If a remote settlement can't find teachers, they can launch an online class.

--

Another reform allows parent, student, and teacher councils to have a say during a school director's election.

--

Another reform prioritizes the admission of kids to certain schools if the kids already have siblings in those schools. Teacher's kids will also be prioritized to be admitted to the teacher's school.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1007527.html

Parliament passes student tuition bill

Parliament voted 102-2-4 to pass a QP bill to reduce tuition fees for some students who work and pay taxes. The tuition reduction equals the paid taxes.

Only students in specific fields will qualify. High tech, agriculture, architecture, and other fields where the govt sees a shortage of labor.

"It's meant to defeat poverty and promote employment. At this age, students are old enough to take care of themselves."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1007597.html

extradition with China

Parliament voted 107-0 to approve the 2019 extradition agreement with China. After holding a hearing, both sides could legally extradite suspects who're facing crimes with potential >1yr punishment.

There are exceptions. Yesterday MPs discussed the problem of extraditing someone to China who could get executed there, while execution wouldn't be allowed in Armenia.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1007537.html

no double-taxation with KG

Parliament ratified the agreement to end double taxation of goods with Kyrgyzstan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1007594.html

108mln March 8th gift for mothers

Karen Vardanyan, the owner of large business Grand Holding, is donating 500k to each of 216 Artsakh families who have >6 young kids.

18 years ago, Shushanik took her 4 kids and moved closer to the border where her husband served as a hired contractor. They had 8 more kids while in Artsakh. The kids are doing well in school. One of them wants to be a gymnast.

More stories in the video... https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182296

coronawarlus briefing

Still 1 COVID case in Armenia. Azerbaijan has 6, Moldova 0.

Georgia recorded its 9th case. All came from Italy. The air border was closed with Italy. 90% of hotel reservations were canceled in Georgia by concerned patrons.

--

Armenian Railways are sanitizing wagons routinely. The staff is wearing protective gear. They received training on how to handle viruses.

Railways have dedicated rooms where passengers with symptoms can be isolated.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182303

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182326

https://jam-news.net/five-more-coronavirus-cases-in-georgia/

--

Healthcare Minister Torosyan visited the 31 Iranian-Armenians quarantined (just in case) in a 5-star hotel. "They're doing fine and receive everything necessary."

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182309

--

China will provide 1000 free COVID tests to Armenia.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1007633.html

--

GHSI rating places Armenia above all CIS countries at epidemic preparedness. (different from yesterday's ranking)

Armenia 26th, Russia 43, Georgia 92, Moldova 120, Azerbaijan 151.

https://www.facebook.com/currenttimetv/photos/a.1547181128830256/2601053143443044/?type=3&theater

reform could allow younger judges

The judicial system has a shortage of judges which causes trial delays and overload. It also has a "reputation" problem. The Justice Ministry has reform plans.

One of them wants to reduce the minimum age for a judge from 28 to 25 if the candidate has a minimum 3-year experience and the required qualifications (which could become stricter, for example, on language knowledge part).

--

Parliament is discussing the bill. BHK chief Gago is against it: "we shouldn't let 25yo decide people's fate. I don't mind if they get picked for civil trials, but not for criminal."

The draft bill was approved 76-35-1. The second and final vote is yet to come.

Other changes include the reduction of Supreme Court chief's term limit from 5 years to 2.5 years.

The Venice Commission gave a positive mark to the bill.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182298

http://panarmenian.net/m/arm/news/273947

statute of limitation / March 1st suspect

March 1st, 2008 incident consists of various episodes: illegal use of military, illegal violent dispersing of a peaceful crowd, illegal shooting at the crowd. Different officials are charged in different cases.

Sashik Afyan was a deputy police chief in 2008 and was recently charged with abuse of power and illegal use of force. Although he has not been cleared as innocent, the prosecutors had to drop his charges due to the statute of limitations expiration. (fake it till you make it)

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182256

Approved - journalists can pull info for free

Today Parliament passed the bill to allow media outlets to make requests to pull data from the govt data registry free of charge, eliminating the existing 3k fee per pop.

To avoid random abuse, qualified media outlets should have their own website/rent/host, or meet other definitions of a "media outlet".

(Yours truly's "Reddit blog" wouldn't qualify to request data. SAD DAY INDEED we will never learn the truth about Avinyan's weed plantations)

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182310

Signed - smoking ban to become law

President Sarkissian has signed the historic bill to restrict smoking in public areas. The restrictions will apply gradually, with some beginning this year and others in 2022.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182317

free breast cancer treatment

Women with HER2 Stage 1-3 breast cancer will receive free treatment, including free drugs, beginning Apr-2020.

An extra 250mln Healthcare Ministry package and a 40% price reduction negotiated with Swiss drugmaker Roche have made this possible.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1007671.html

իԳործ diaspora enrollment program

Diaspora Committee chief Zareh Sinanian met Pashinyan.

A new իԳործ program allows diasporans with Master's Degree to apply and work at govt agencies. It's a way to attract brains.

Govt will buy an airplane ticket, help with finding housing, and a 336k monthly aid, which isn't big per se since the program is about "helping".

The program lasts until July-2021. "We hope that some of the experts will decide to stay in Armenia upon completion," said Zareh.

Defense agencies and the nuclear sector will not hire, as a safety measure. All other sectors are looking for experts. This year there are 20 spots, with more anticipated next year.

"We're waiting for you in Armenia," said Pashinyan.

--

Another initiative allows any Armenian to apply to work at govt while registering in a new job database. The govt vets applicants and saves the good ones. 1,500 applications so far.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182318

oil prices plummet

Yesterday, OPEC+ countries failed to collude to cut oil supplies and fix the prices. -8% overnight. Trending at $47/barrel.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/06/oil-sinks-5percent-to-multi-year-low-on-uncertain-opec-deal.html

wish granted - 105yo man receives citizenship

Turkish-Italian-Armenian Nurhan Boghosi Yusupovich was born in 1915 in Constantinople, Turkey. His father was a beanie-maker who would import materials from Italy and produce hats in Turkey.

Nurhan worked at the Italian embassy in Ankara before moving to Italy after retirement.

Last month he moved to Armenia and asked the PM for citizenship.

"It is a great honor for me to grant you this Armenian passport," said Pashinyan while meeting him today.

Nurhan accepted his new passport, kissed it, and celebrated it with a glass of champagne.

PICS: https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182316

gastro park / developing tourism in Kotayk

Aragyugh, Kotayk has a new gastro park. It's an open-air tourist attraction center with cafes, booths, handmade product shops, sewing classes, dances, witnessing winemaking process, meeting locals, etc.

The project is co-funded by Russia as part of UN aid to develop tourism in provinces.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182280

points based traffic rules / stats / online registration

It's Friday. What is a Friday? Its a day of a week. Does Friday exist? Yes. If Friday exists, that means Nikol Pashinyan will try to boast about something on Friday.

On Friday, Pashinyan boasted on Facebook:

The points-based system is showing its results. Despite dozens of thousands of more cars entering Armenian streets since 2018, traffic deaths are down by 18 vs 2018, and down by 3 vs 2019.

In Yerevan, incidents are -34, deaths -1, injuries -84.

(Yesterday we learned that over 200 drivers lost their licenses over DUIs and other violations in February.)

--

http://www.RoadPolice.am is where drivers pre-register (instant ID verification) to have their names attached to a vehicle. This makes it harder to commit a point-violation then try to have someone else take the blame for it through fraud/money.

Immediate family members can still drive the vehicle without pre-registration, violate a point, then tell the police it was them who violated.

This website will soon allow title registrations and sales transaction entries without having to physically appear to DMV.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182297


Link to original report and comments: https://old.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/feiyx8/mar62020_your_daily_news_summarized_dont_miss/


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