2020 September 10

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Sep/10/2020: \\ reforms to reduce waiting times, fees \\ agriculture \\ renewable energy goal \\ COVID news \\ jobs & salaries++ \\ Belarus protest \\ Urartian m'lady \\ fiber-optic network: GEO vs AZE \\ BHK backtracks abortion ban? \\ re: Emil Gazaz \\ anti-corruption busts \\ m'lady Aurora \\ ...
by ar_david_hh


before you continue

Bookmark the important Wednesday news in case you missed it: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ipo22o/sep92020_news_birthrate_up_paid_paternity_leave/

Agriculture in Armenia: present and future

Most land farming is done on or around the Ararat Plain. Across Armenia, there are 60,000 agricultural farming businesses, 91% of which are only 1 hectare in size.

The small size reduces the efficiency which raises the food price.

To solve this, the Economy Ministry created a plan to develop ինտենսիվ այգիներ (intense farming) which has a more efficient irrigation system, different types of crops for a better value, etc. There is a plan for 2020-2023.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027198.html

COVID vs agriculture / the apricot war outcome

Deputy Economy Minister: agriculture grew 1.7% despite the pandemic, and so did the demand for food. Some businesses report a 30% increase in orders. There are people who began farming after seeing an opportunity.

April was the worst month. Food trucks needed 3 weeks to reach Russia, which spoiled perishable foods. It was resolved by May.

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The pandemic pushed us to exit the comfort zone and look for more opportunities by studying other markets. We ended up giving $52,000 grants to 30 businesses (20 more soon) to improve their food safety, which will open up the European market for them.

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The Russian-Azeri businesses' boycott of Armenian apricots had no impact on apricot exports. Quite the opposite.

The apricot trucks, which would normally pay a $1000 parking fee to Moscow's Food City, ended up not paying it [due to being given a free spot elsewhere by Armenian donors]. The only Armenian apricot that was spoiled during the [Apricot War] was the two boxes that the angry protesters stomped on.

😅 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027216.html

Aliyev continues to purge undesirables in MFA

Azeri outlets report that the entire embassy staff in Sweden was recalled over a corruption investigation in Azerbaijan. The embassy is closed; no one is answering phone calls.

Similarly, recently the ambassador to Serbia was also arrested upon being lured to Azerbaijan.

It all began after the July Battle losses. Aliyev had a massive meltdown and accused ambassadors to various states of being traitors.

--

https://factor.am/282520.html

https://jam-news.net/azerbaijani-ministry-of-foreign-affairs-embassy-in-sweden-recalled-diplomatic-mission/

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/hsfydg/jul162020_news_tavush_battles_100_azeris_launch/

Armenia is reviewing its long-term energy strategy

In 2015 the govt drafted a 20-year plan for future energy sector development. Now the govt is revising it with a new vision to increase the role of renewables. They will (should) account for 15% of energy by 2030.

Other goals are to turn Armenia into a bigger regional energy transfer hub and to find a second source of gas.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027200.html

COVID stats / Unknown pneumonia stats

+3,250 tested. +174 infected. +210 healed. +1 death. 2908 active. 227809 tested.

--

So far this year, the number of patients with "unknown" pneumonia is double that of 2019. That's ~5,000 people who might have had COVID but were not officially confirmed on paper.

During the peak pandemic, the Healthcare Ministry announced that when certain symptoms are revealed by medical tests, the patient is automatically assumed to have COVID without an actual COVID-test. That way they could save on testing time/resources.

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Pashinyan: COVID is declining but we have to be vigilant when schools reopen. The virus will stay with us for a long time. Many European countries are recording a second wave.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027223.html

https://factor.am/282659.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027238.html

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/195425

COVID vs Georgia

Georgian PM declared the beginning of a second wave, which they expected in Autumn. 57 cases were recorded today and 44 yesterday. That's up from lower single-digit numbers from earlier.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027256.html

Psychologists will work with teachers, students, and parents

Asian Development Bank has a program to evaluate the well being and stress levels of those involved in elementary schools to find out the difficulties created by the pandemic and e-learning.

This includes 400 teachers who will be asked about high-tech difficulties and stress.

Dozens of families and children have been questioned already. There will be a hotline. In the end, there gathered stats will be shared with the Education Ministry.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027226.html

COVID vs jobs and salaries

Pashinyan: as of July, we had 6,600 more jobs than last year. Total salary funds +8.1%. Average salary +7.1% or $28. August numbers will be better.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027234.html

yoy shall produce masks

BAAM Venture Capital (nice name) received a tax waiver from the govt to produce 3 million masks within a month.

$503,000 investments, 35 jobs, $250/mo salary.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027227.html

Healthcare Ministry suffers major losses

The government took away 10 գյոզալ Ford Transit ambulance vehicles from the Ministry and donated them to the Artsakh Republic.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027241.html

COVID vs travel

Civil Aviation says 1-2 dozen airlines will resume flights to Armenia this month.

Visitors can take a COVID test in one of the 20 newly built medical checkpoints at the airport, go home, wait 1-2 days for the result, and leave the home if it's negative.

--

Armenia has offered EAEU bloc partners to create universal travel rules within the bloc during these times of pandemic, which left many people stranded in Armenia and unable to return to Russia.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027237.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027236.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027278.html

Solidarity protest in front of Belarus embassy

A group of Armenian civil society activists held a picket in front of the Belarus embassy to show support for the Belarussian opposition.

"Many journalists are arrested in Belarus. The same used to happen in Armenia. We overcame it. Hopefully, Belarussians will free themselves from that dictator."

"We urge the Armenian govt to support the international efforts to summon a special UN Human Rights Council meeting about the situation in Belarus," said various activists.

--

"As a former political prisoner, Pashinyan should display courage and speak up his mind about the events in Belarus," said a famous Belarussian civil activist Ales Belyatski.

Տարոսը ձեզ https://factor.am/282613.html

https://factor.am/282622.html

https://factor.am/282681.html

https://factor.am/282687.html

Urartian woman discovered

Archeologists found the remains of an Urartian woman with jewelry in a 2750-year-old graveyard in Haykaberd (aka Chavushtepe) in Van district. That graveyard was used to bury the "elites".

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284960/

Georgian govt vs Azeri company / Fiber-optic

Earlier we learned that Georgian Caucasus Online company secretly agreed to sell 49% of fiber-optic infrastructure, which also connects Armenia to the Black Sea, to an Azeri businessman with ties to Aliyev.

Now the Georgian govt regulator is trying to stop the sale. Some Georgian circles aren't happy with giving the country's infrastructure to another country.

https://jamestown.org/program/georgian-authorities-seek-to-block-azerbaijani-investment-in-telecommunications-infrastructure/

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284974/

BHK backtracks on full abortion ban

BHK MP Naira Zohrabyan says she isn't against abortion, but only selective abortion.

It was reported yesterday that she drafted a bill to only allow abortion if the mother would die during birth.

She says there will be a public discussion before submitting the bill to Parliament.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284986/

update: Emil Gazaz

Yesterday we learned that U.S.-based artist Emil Gazazyan decided to move to Gyumri. Apparently, he learned about the news from the media, too. Fake news?

--

Yesterday, a woman claiming to be his representative, went to participate in a Gyurmi municipality session, during which the city agreed to give Gazaz a house so he can continue his work after repatriation.

--

Now the artist's wife Monet Kakaz says the "representative" was some gallery director who wasn't authorized to "represent" Gazaz.

(this better not be a new type of house embezzlement scheme I swear to god. Wheer is ThE hOusE Now, հն?)

--

The full interview with Kazaz: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/195448

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/195374

Authorities bust embezzlement of Gyumri's historical "Black Castle"

The report says: Gyumri's Black Castle was listed as a historical-cultural building and owned by Defense Ministry.

In 2005, officials from Justice and Defense Ministries colluded with a notary agent to falsify documents to sell the castle to a friend.

Video of the castle: https://youtu.be/9B0GzRwU-jo

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027275.html

Prosecutors charge more guards with inmate abuse

In late-August there was an incident involving Nubarashen inmates and prison guards. Inmates received bruises. Civil society groups suspected it was abuse, while Justice Minister said "not so fast, don't fall for inmates' manipulations".

Prosecutors examined the case and found that the guards paid an unannounced visit to check for illegal items but didn't find anything. The inmates allegedly resisted orders and were illegally beaten by the guards.

Prosecutors launched a felony case against guards.

https://factor.am/282534.html

NSS busts official w/illegal logging

The report says: Hayantar forest guard took bribes and organized several instances of illegal logging operations. A felony case is launched against bribe givers/takers.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027270.html

the 2019 riots in Dilijan

Last year the govt began fighting against illegal deforestation with stricter laws and enforcement. This angered hundreds of loggers who attacked the local cops in Dilijan.

20 suspects are currently charged. 12 are under arrest and 8 are told not to cross the border.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027240.html

Corruption Prevention Commission (CPC)

... is the new institute that the govt has been working on. It will have 6 divisions and 40 workers. The divisions will vet officials, educate the public, find conflicts of interest, buy everyone a free ice cream (testing to see if you're reading), etc.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027228.html

Tavush roads++

A 3km tourist road leading to Makaravanq will have asphalt for the first time ever, for $0.5m.

4km section of M16-Berqaber road is renovated for the first time since USSR, for $0.7m.

2km road near Berdavan for $0.5m, for the first time in 35 years.

https://youtu.be/xiZCn3JGSnY

the story of Aurora Mardiganian

Aurora Mardiganian survived the Genocide and later became an author in the U.S. With the help of a publisher, she wrote a memoir "Ravished Armenia: The Christian Girl Survived the Great Massacres".

The "Aurora" humanitarian organization will soon help the Genocide Museum to republish the book to include 20 pages of notes.

https://factor.am/282488.html

major public services reforms to drastically cut wait times and fees / Doing Business++

Justice Ministry plans the following:

More electronic services with easier rules.

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Registering a business will take 1 day. This could move Armenia from 10th position in Doing Business ranking, to 2nd, and possibly 1st if more businesses choose to register online.

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For the first time, foreign citizens abroad can contact Consulars to easily register a business in Armenia. They can have an Armenia-based representative to handle it, too. This could help increase investments.

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Changing a name will take 0.5 month instead of 5. And so will correcting errors in those documents. (Now you can become Շմավոն ten times as fast)

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$0 fee to register a self-employed business or marriage. Some other fees (e.g. registering a political party) will rise from $40 to $100.

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Some marriage-related documents will be given instantly instead of having to wait a week.

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Documents will be notarized by one body, including electronically, within 1 day instead of 3.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027253.html

Spicy News of the Day Award goes to...

Emergency crews found a missile warhead and ammunition in the basement of a ֆիզկուլտուրա building on Alek Manukyan Street. Make sure you do your pushups properly, kids.

The live bomb was first discovered by the janitor who took it out of the basement and put it on the sidewalk before calling 911.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027288.html

--

You've read 1814 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/iq9uo8/sep102020_reforms_to_reduce_waiting_times_fees/

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. Helpful overview of Armenia's media ownership and leanings.


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