2020 May 3

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Anti-Corruption Daily

May/3/2020: Today's News Stories --- Armenian airlines blacklisted by U.S. \\ 3-way clash between Pashinyan-Vanetsyan-Minasyan \\ New raids related to ex-IRS boss \\ Bill to require balanced news on TV \\ Healthcare system capacity & Future of COVID \\ Diasporans \\ Yerevan news \\ more stories...
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.


Armenian airline companies blacklisted by U.S. / Weapon & Cash transport / Syria & Iran / HHK MP

U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has a blacklist of companies that cooperated with Iran despite a business-ban imposed by the U.S. There are 5 Armenian companies on the blacklist. They are banned from buying or transporting items from the U.S.

VERTIR AIRLINES

Vertir Airlines is one such company belonging to HHK MP and former Civil Aviation chief Artyom Movsesyan. It was added to the blacklist in 2013 for helping Iranian Mahan Air. The latter is accused of transporting weapons and cash to the Syrian Assad regime. The size and nature of Vertir's activities make it clear the company was created with the main purpose of serving as a middleman for another [Iranian] company.

Vertir purchased >9 big Airbus jets and gave them to various blacklisted Iranian airlines so they could use them for parts & flights.

Vertir's owner HHK MP also happened to be Armenia Airways's director and one of two major shareholders. He actually owned a company (Main Aviation Technics) which owned the Armenia Airway's stock. The MP made major personal aviation gains after being appointed as HHK's Civil Aviation chief.

This "Main Aviation Technics" company, owned by the MP, made shady money after former officials leased one of its jets for aviation training. In 2019, the Pashinyan administration launched a felony case, saying: "The former officials wasted money by leasing a jet and spending 7x more than what they would spend if they bought a jet."

VETERAN AVIA

Another blacklisted airline is Veteran Avia, owned by an Indian businessman. He has jets registered in multiple countries, including Armenia. In 2014, it was blacklisted for helping Syrian Assad's regime by transporting weapons and cash. In 2016, however, the Indian businessman was able to partially clear his name. His jets in India were removed from the blacklist, but the ones registered in Armenia were not.

BIS blacklist: https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/regulations-docs/2326-supplement-no-4-to-part-744-entity-list-4/file

https://hetq.am/hy/article/116300

https://hetq.am/hy/article/116640

https://hetq.am/hy/article/104715

https://hetq.am/hy/article/105690

Tag: #ArmenianAirlines #CivilAviation #USblacklist #blacklist

Pashinyan-Vanetsyan-Minasyan conflict reaches a new level

Serj's media and mining magnate son-in-law Mikael Minasyan is on the run. He is charged with money-crimes. He is also accused of running a black PR media campaign against Pashinyan.

Then there is ex-NSS chief Vanetsyan who was fired in late-2019 for refusing to bust some HHK officials.

And there is PM Pashinyan, who throws jabs at both.

--

Minasyan claims: Vanetsyan met me in Feb-2019 while presenting himself as Pashinyan's messenger, and told me to stop my anti-Pashinyan activities and to donate a sum to some foundation, in exchange for dropping the pending criminal charges against me. I refused.

--

Vanetsyan earlier claimed: don't try to tie me to Minasyan. He still has to face justice in Armenia. The investigation is ongoing.

--

Pashinyan earlier claimed: after 2018 revolution, Minasyan rushed to sell his illegally obtained shares in Zangezur copper mine, SPAYKA, Armenia TV, etc. Vanetsyan abused his powers and illegally obtained some of Minasyan's shares.

--

Pashinyan's brother-in-law QP MP claimed: Vanetsyan extorted Minasyan's company shares and promised him a govt position if Vanetsyan sabotaged Pashinyan and removed him from power. This conversation might have been recorded.

https://factor.am/246236.html

https://factor.am/246242.html

https://factor.am/246309.html

Tags: #MikaelMinasyan #ArthurVanetsyan

UCOM director's house is raided / Warrant for shareholder's arrest

Prosecutors earlier accused ex-IRS boss Gagik Khachatryan's sons and BHK party chief Dodi Gago's aide of laundering $22mln bribery cash. Khachatryan's sons own UCOM ISP.

Khachatyran son's offices and homes were raided last week. Days later the court issued an arrest warrant for him.

The police also raided UCOM's new director's home. The defendant complaints that documents unrelated to the laundering charges were also confiscated.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186999

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/187030

Context 1: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/g9tx3u/apr282020_todays_news_massive_22mln_bribery_story/?

Context 2: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/gb4oo8/apr302020_thursday_news_offshore_firm_makes_your/?

Fun stuff: https://www.occrp.org/en/28-ccwatch/cc-watch-indepth/6395-sons-of-yerevan-minister-sell-hollywood-mansion

Bill to require balanced media reporting on TV / Ownership transparency / No harmful content

QP and Independent MP created a draft bill to require more balanced news reporting on TV, proper notification when the news source is anonymous or unconfirmed, have a segment where confirmed trustworthy info is provided.

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TV outlets must disclose their real owners and annual financial reports.

TV outlets cannot belong to: acting public officials and political parties or their affiliates, NGOs, convicted felons serving time in prison (ban lifted once the record is cleared), children.

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No calls for violence, no hate speech against protected groups, no porn or gore during daytime. History documentaries can contain nudity and violence.

No ads or fun shows during a national mourning day.

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More Armenian-language content. Foreign movies must either be translated to Armenian or presented in the original format with Armenian subtitles. Exceptions are the movies meant to teach the audience a foreign language.

30% of music content must be Armenian music. (zurna dhol intensifies)

--

This is a draft proposal. All of this can change during debates.

Yerevan Media Club responded: we proposed our version of the bill that would have solved everything that wasn't done in the past 20 years. The MPs rejected it and presented their own bill, which doesn't go far enough, and has unclear parts. This bill is cosmetic in nature. Our bill would guarantee the creation of Private Multiplex, while MP's bill only makes Private Multiple legally possible.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/116596

Tag: #PublicTV #TVregulation

13% of all infected are doctors

Healthcare Minister Torosyan: 320 out of 2400 COVID cases were among doctors. Thankfully, none of them died, partly because we instructed >60yo doctors to stay home. This complicates things because the experienced doctors can't help the young, which in turn places more burden on the young and places them at risk.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/187020

Govt launches a guerilla fight against COVID / Healthcare system capacity

Pashinyan, Emergency Coordinator Avinyan, and Healthcare Minister Torosyan held a meeting and said:

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COVID will be with us for another year until we have a vaccine. We must learn to live with it for now. We're starting a decentralized fight against it.

Unlike in some countries, our healthcare system managed to withstand the load. 850 out of 1500 beds are currently being used. Another 350 infected are kept in quarantined hotels, with 2500 max capacity.

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Education, public transport, shopping malls, and a few other industries will remain banned. Many industries will reopen, and it's up to the public to exercise personal responsibility. This is the approach that every country will eventually adopt, even those with the strictest restrictions.

New infections in factories will still happen. We will enforce and punish safety violations. Washing hands, resisting the urge to touch your face, keeping distance is important. It's about protecting your family.

Hot weather didn't stop COVID. Arab countries with 40c temps are seeing a big rise.

--

[The three proceeded to discuss scenarios on how to preserve safety while sitting in a building. Not touching surfaces, face, covering mouth while coughing, etc.]

Cafe/restaurant workers will be required to handle silverware with care. Only open-air locations will reopen. The public is the best "police". If you see any business violate hygiene, don't spend your money there. Businesses will realize it's best to respect hygiene otherwise they'll be shut down and lose money.

The best evidence that hygiene helps is the fact that some infected patients lived with their family in the same apartment but never infected them because of basic safety steps like air circulation, hand washing, masks, etc. One day we may have to send the asymptomatic patients home.

Joseph, Franklin, and Winston: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=249829552738506

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/187035

200,000 masks...

...will be produced in Tavush, Armenia beginning Monday.

www.1lurer.am/hy/2020/05/03/Հայաստանում-մինչև-200-հազար-դիմակ-կարտադրվի-դիմակի-խնդիր-չենք-ունենա․-Փաշինյան/235087

thousands of Armenians waiting to return

Many Armenians are stranded in Russia due to travel ban. 1,500 were flown in April with emergency flights, mostly paid by govt. Later, MFA depleted its resources and asked people to pay for their tickets.

8,500 Armenians have registered for emergency flights from Russia. 350 are temporarily housed in Russian hotels. 517 received help to find temporary work in Russia.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1014097.html

Construction season begins

Last year the govt did tons of road repairs, with even more scheduled for 2020. The "intensive construction phase" has begun.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/187026

diamond production in Armenia...

... grew 2.1x YoY in January-February period. 89,000 carats processed.

76% more jewelry was produced (195kg total).

https://www.panorama.am/en/news/2020/05/02/diamond-production/2284653

Yerevan received a new...

... batch of 2,000 garbage containers for streets and residential backyards. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/187044 Yerevan's new transport system

Yerevan city worked with Reconstruction Bank to create an auction to buy 100 gas-powered disability-enabled buses for the upcoming transport revamp. Gradually, 720 more buses will be purchased.

The company that wins the auction to deliver the buses must meet requirements: >15 years in business, cannot be a small business, must have delivered similar buses to others in the past, etc.

"It took a while to get here because the auction is a 200-page document. Then COVID hit."

https://youtu.be/c90hfTmWNeM

Krisp Noise Cancelling App...

....made by an Armenian startup is getting popular around the world. It removes background noise during conference calls. It's free in Armenia.

https://youtu.be/cIPoCaJqF44

hmmmmmmmm 🤔

CivilNet writes:

Many Armenian cities were renamed after the independence.

Alexandrapol > Leninakan > Kumayri > Gyumri

Kirovakan > Vanadzor

Hoktemberyan > Armavir

Yet many cities and streets are still named after Tsarist Russian and CCCP figures. One of them is Noyemberyan in Tavush.

Noyemberyan used to be called Barana. 80 years later, some residents still refer to it as such. It'll be hard to rename Noyemberyan and expect the public to digest yet another major name-change. Talks about renaming began in 1990s.

Do Noyemberyan residents want a new name? Their neighbors at Alaverdi refused to change theirs. Alaverdi = Allah Verdi (Turkish for "A form given by God").

Full article: https://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/05/03/Ի՞նչ-անուն-տալ-Նոյեմբերյան-քաղաքին/383581


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/gd30zz/may32020_todays_news_stories_armenian_airlines/


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