2020 May 11

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Anti-Corruption Daily

May/11/2020 News: (1) Massive campaign to make Yerevan greener (2) Offers made for several MPs to resign (3) Businessmen fight after river overflows (4) Child exploitation convention (5) Story of "Mother Armenia" statue (6) Artsakh bridge gets Aliyev in trouble (7) Judicial reforms (8) Men's rights?
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.


Parliament brawl participant MP suggests himself and his opponent resign

MPs had a fistfight on Friday. QP Sasun slapped LHK Edmon after the latter walked towards Sasun during a heated debate.

LHK boycotted today's Parliament session by not showing up, placing the blame for what had happened on Pashinyan.

--

QP Sasun: [told a long story about how his family survived genocide, how he helped Azeri civilians safely evacuate during Artsakh war, how his mother prayed that he would die instead of falling hostage]. LHK Edmon's brother cursed my mother on Facebook. He must apologize or it won't end well. Mothers and women are holy to me. I encourage my Yerkrapah war veteran friends to stand down and do nothing. If LHK Edmon is a man, I suggest both of us to resign.

--

QP leader Lilith: 6 MPs should resign: participant QP Sasun, participant LHK Edmon, plus two side-brawlers from QP and LHK each. This will be a fair "political answer" which LHK Edmon has been asking for.

The two LHK MPs gave a negative opinion about the resignation offer.

https://factor.am/248909.html , https://factor.am/248932.html , https://youtu.be/7JIme7YAVxU , http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/280924/ , https://168.am/2020/05/11/1301419.html

Child sexual exploitation prevention convention

Parliament discussed the ratification of the Lanzarote Convention to defend children from sexual exploitation. Armenia signed it in 2010 but never ratified it.

BHK MP: convention is problematic because it states 1-4th grade kids will be taught how to self-defend against exploitation. They're too small for this type of education, don't spoil their pure minds with sexual crap. It also says something about civil society funding something that isn't clear. We suggest toughening Armenian felony code instead.

QP MP responds: to defend kids from an early age we should educate them from an early age. Education Ministry will implement a curriculum, which can be optional and coordinated with parents, that fits 1-4th grade intellect.

--

QP MP: convention will create a special court trial procedure to prevent double-victimizing the exploited kids. We suggest videotaping Q&A sessions to prevent double-interrogation. We suggest involving a psychologist during Q&A sessions.

BHK MP: we made punishment tougher in 2013. Soon we'll propose a bill about chemical castration for pedophiles. The U.S. and EU do it.

QP MP: parents don't always know how to defend kids from exploitation. Convention will teach kids about dangers on the internet (i.e., not to send pics to strangers), how to seek help, for parents to detect early signs of abuse, etc.

BHK MP: the church called and complained about the convention. Kids shouldn't be taught sexual stuff.

--

Parliament ratified the convention with 79-12 vote. BHK voted against.

--

QP MP: sadly, some people misrepresent the convention as something that teaches perversion to young kids. Will the Human Rights Ombudsman create educational videos to inform the public?

Human Rights Ombudsman: we will. The govt should have done that, and they didn't. Lack of info leads to conspiracy theories.

https://factor.am/248193.html , https://factor.am/248204.html , https://factor.am/248217.html , https://factor.am/248224.html , https://factor.am/248227.html , https://factor.am/248234.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1014736.html , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/187593 , https://factor.am/248799.html

Women's Rights or Human Rights?

QP MP: is it time to stop singling out "women's rights" and treat is as part of general human rights? Men are also subject to discrimination and violence. When people talk about "women's rights" it's often associated with negative political elements.

Human Rights Ombudsman: we subconsciously use discriminatory language in our day-to-day life. I had to correct one of my [domestic violence related] papers to make sure it isn't only addressed towards women. On the other hand, some issues are unique to women.

QP MP: recently a man jumped out the window with his kids, a boy was told by a teacher not to cry "you're not a girl", first lady Anna released a video about the topic, etc. Armenian men are chastised for showing emotions. This leads to suicides, including in the army.

https://factor.am/248796.html

https://youtu.be/h9YYbkAo60I

Over the weekend...

...Armenia and Artsakh celebrated the victory days. WW2 veterans went to pay tribute in Yerevan's Hakhtanak Park.

An airshow featuring new fighter jets: https://youtu.be/QipIhFe5Cx8

The story of Mother Armenia statue in Hakhtanak Park

The big lady with a sword that symbolizes Strong Armenian Woman, the defender of the nation, used to be Joseph Stalin.

In 1962, Stalin was removed, and the statue of the lady - created by Ara Harutyunyan - was installed.

The face of Genya Muradyan was used for the statue. She was a 17-year-old girl waiting in a grocery line to buy tomatoes when the sculptor approached and made an offer to use her face. She turns 78 this year.

Her family escaped Gandzak (Ganja) and moved to Baku, before escaping to Russia, then moving to Armenia. Born in 1942, she was a hungry kid when WW2 ended.

Pic & Story: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1014836.html

Small Armenian village...

... called Chardakhlu, in modern-day Azerbaijan, sent 1,200 soldiers to WW2. Half of them returned with bravery medals. Two of them became Marshals: Hovhannes Baghramyan and Hamazasp Babajanyan.

--

20% of 1.5mln Armenian population, or 600k including diaspora, fought in WW2.

106 Armenians received the CCCP Hero medal, while 26 received a 3-star Order of Glory. (pshh Leonid Brezhnev had more than all combined)

More stories: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1014852.html

Timeline of Artsakh War

Azatutyun created a cool chronological timeline giving TLDRs about Artsakh conflict events between 1991-2019.

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/29935114.html

Azeri president accused of treason over bridge/hydro construction

President Əlhəm Ələyəv signed an agreement with Iran in 2016, "allowing" the latter to build a hydro and bridge on Iran-Arstakh border, as long as Iran acknowledged that the lands are officially Azeri.

Azeri opposition National Front now accuses ƏlhƏm of treason for helping Armenians. "Does Əlhəm even want to return Qərəbəg?"

Iran wanted to build those since 1988. CCCP collapsed and Armenians liberated the areas. Iran began negotiating with Armenians. "Azerbaijan had no choice but to accept it," say analysts.

http://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/05/11/Ալիևին-անվանում-են-դավաճան-Արաքսի-վրա-հէկերի-ու-կամուրջների-կառուցման-համար/384432

https://www.lragir.am/2020/05/10/545000/

COVID stats

Tested 32,600 (+1,000). All time infected 3,392 (+79, twice lower than yesterday). Currently infected 1,970 (+42).

https://hetq.am/hy/article/116948 , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/187595

Not only masks...

...but also protective suits and goggles are being manufactured in Armenia. They sell for half the price. One firm will produce 20,000 suits/mo. They used to import and resell medical stuff.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/187478

online Nations Cup chess is over

Aronyan's team-EU finished 3rd. China and U.S. tied in the finale but China won with a tie-breaker. (don't tell Trump)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1014877.html

Metsamor became the 4th river to...

...overspill since Friday. It flooded houses and crops in Ranchpar.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/187515

ex-MP's family and a group of soldiers clash

Family members of "Free Democrats" MP Qoqobelyan had a fight [presumably were attacked] with 4 soldiers. The soldiers cursed them for 15 minutes before escalating it to a fistfight. Shots were fired.

The family was transported to a hospital in unknown condition. The army is investigating.

https://m.shamshyan.com/hy/article/2020/05/09/1154337/ , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/187524 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/187550

days after the attack on ex-MP's family, residents stage protests against him

River Aghstev overflowed by 1 meter (unprecedented level since 1998), washed away cars, and damaged a nearby restaurant. It prompted the restaurant owner and his allies to protest.

Protestors shut down Tavush freeway and demanded the governor to "do something about the ex-MP Qoqobelyan's hydro-plant's damage to the river, which made the flood possible".

ex-MP responded to accusations: the flooding has nothing to do with our hydro's operations. In 2019 the govt audited us and confirmed that we followed the standards. On the other hand, the restaurant owner did illegal construction too close to the river and now he's crying about it being washed away.

The governor commented: we audited both parties in 2019 and found that both parties did illegal construction (LOL). Prosecutors are examining. The river didn't overflow because of the hydro. Those who shut down the highway will receive administrative punishment.

https://news.am/arm/news/577732.html , https://news.am/arm/news/577749.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/187557 , https://factor.am/248742.html , https://news.am/arm/news/577749.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/187649

Former PM Karen Karapetyan...

...was summoned to answer questions about the handling of April 2016 battles. In 2017 he said, "there were numerous instances when army vehicles malfunctioned because of poor quality fuel." The investigators wanted him to clarify.

Investigator: this Q&A lasted short because Karapetyan became PM only after the April battles. We got the answers.

--

Q to Karapetyan: why did you quit HHK in 2018?

A: I quit politics. (he is a board member of Russian govt-run oil company)

Q: why did you ask the court to free Kocharyan?

A: it's about pre-trial. It's not about saying he is innocent or guilty. The trial could last very long. He should be freed meanwhile.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/187614

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1014938.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1014935.html

Judicial reforms / More judges / Faster trials

Armenia doesn't have enough judges. Trials last for years. Some judges find themselves having to forge documents to meet deadlines on paper.

Justice Minister said:

Armenia has 244 judges: 183 in Lower, 44 Appeals, 17 Cassations. Since 2018, only 30 candidates passed the tests and entered the education phase. That's very little. [recently govt approved a law to ease the requirements to become a jduge].

If Parliament approves, salaries will +50% in 2020, +60% in 2021, +70% in 2022. Right now judges earn ~$1400. By 2022 they'll earn ~$2300.

As for vetting, the existing judges will be required to submit property ownership, which will be checked against their income sources. We can't mass-check events before 2017 because the Constitution prohibits.

https://youtu.be/j3ELy6ihsm8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw10L9dPEnk

Presidents signs the asset forfeiture bill

President Armen Sarkissian has signed the recent bill to allow >50mln worth assets to be confiscated if the official fails to prove it was obtained legally.

Earlier Sarkissian sent another anti-corruption bill, about access to banking info, to Constitutional Court instead of signing it.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/187662

The rare leopard...

...that was seen in Yenoqavan, that presumably attacked a shepherd months ago, is a stray cat that traveled out of Vayots Dzor towards north. The camera captured her dot-patterns. It matches a known leopard in Vayots Dzor.

https://factor.am/248681.html

Yerevan's lungs are being restored / Green hills / Irrigation system / Tsitsernakaberd

Last year Mayor Marutyan said they'll plant 12ha trees on Saralanj hills, near Hakhtanak Park. But first, they need an efficient drip-irrigation system. The construction of water pumps and pipes has begun.

Trees will be planted this Autumn. They will be chosen based on compatibility with the area, their looks, and done in a way that blossoming will occur year-round.

Bushes will protect the soil layers, while the rocky areas will have "climbing" vegetation.

--

Yerevan will also restore trees near the Tsitsernakaberd Genocide memorial. Hundreds of trucks have removed debris and began planting trees on an 8.5ha area.

Tsitsernakaberd, too, will have a new irrigation system. Nearby streets were dug to bring water from Qanaqer reservoir.

-

This is all being done by a new city department created by Mayor in 2019. It acts as a unified "green department" and replaces the old system, under which every district used to handle its own green zones.

This Green Department began replacing 65km damaged irrigation pipes across Yerevan. Since not all repairs will be finished this year, they plan to use water trucks to irrigate city's 40% of green areas, which are currently unwatered.

The Green Department has so far planted 250,000 bushes and 800 trees. Small quantities of flowers are being grown.

Full: https://youtu.be/NEnQZ6sDCxQ

https://factor.am/248568.html


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ghsw5h/may112020_news_1_massive_campaign_to_make_yerevan/


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