2020 September 15

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Sep/15/2020 news: \\ unified transport & payment network \\ rivers that flow to AZE \\ geopolitics \\ Kocharyan's money \\ new Constitutional Court judges \\ anti-corruption \\ Central Bank: GDP, inflation, interest \\ nature protection \\ it's nuts! \\ COVID news \\ the church \\ pump those numbers
by ar_david_hh


reservoirs & rivers that flow from Armenia to Azerbaijan

On Sunday, a QP MP announced the launch of a new water pump in Tavush's Dovegh village. It'll collect local river water for irrigation of ARM lands, instead of flowing into AZE.

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CivilNet outlet writes: // several rivers flow out of ARM. Only one of them (Debed) goes to Georgia; the rest flow into AZE. Due to the weather warming in the past decades, ARM's Tavush and nearby three AZE provinces began facing water shortage.

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Several reservoirs were built during USSR in these regions. A few were built right on the border for shared use.

The largest one was the Berqaber reservoir (Joghas). It ceased operations after the 1991 war. International organizations urge ARM and AZE to agree to reuse the reservoir, and hopefully use that as a first step towards a wider peace.

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Overall, AZE built 5 reservoirs in this region that feed off of rivers coming from ARM. They are Kemerli, Abbasbeyli, Aghstafa, Tovuz, and Kndzorut reservoirs. The latter is another example of a shared reservoir on the border. That's the one next to Mt. Qaradash, where the July battles took place.

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Similarly, ARM built 4 reservoirs in Tavush region. They are Berqaber, Hakhum, Tavush, and Tsili Tsov.

Berqaber, as mentioned earlier, is the large one that's on the border, partly inside AZE. It used to irrigate 11 ARM villages. The other 3 ARM reservoirs are currently feeding the Berd city and its surrounding villages.

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The largest river flowing from Tavush to AZE is Aghstev. There used to be "Spitak Jur" reservoir on it built near Ijevan. It was later abandoned and turned into a wastewater collector.

As a result, ARM only uses a fraction of Aghstev River water. The rest flows into AZE. Azeris used the river water to built one of their largest reservoirs called Aghstafa, near Jafarlu (Ceferli) village.

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ARM also insufficiently utilizes water from Karahan and Voskepar rivers. They feed the aforementioned large Berqaber reservoir on the border. On their side of that border, AZE built Abbasbeyli reservoir, which is operational.

If ARM built reservoirs on these two rivers, more lands near Ijevan and Noyemberan would be irrigated.

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ARM also lacks reservoirs on Koghb and Noyemberyan rivers. They travel through ARM lands and flow into AZE Kemerli reservoir.

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No new reservoir was built in ARM after independence. "Vedi" reservoir is under construction today. It's time to build new reservoirs in Tavush instead of watching how these rivers flow into AZE. It's expensive but it's worth it in the long run. //

https://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/09/14/Հայաստանից-Ադրբեջան-հոսող-գետերի-ջրերը-պետք-է-պահել-և-ամբարել/394785

Azeri soldier wounded

AZE reports about a wounded soldier on Tavush border.

Yesterday ARM's Defense Ministry announced that they fired shots to stop AZE from reinforcing their trenches with engineering equipment. It's unclear if the two incidents are related.

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/30839819.html

Kurds & Armenians

Ethnic Kurdish QP MP Knyaz Hasanov gave a speech in Parliament. He believes Armenians and Kurds should cooperate against the "common enemy Turkish government to thwart its plans."

Knyaz said: // Just as Turkey supported Azerbaijan during July battles, every day they call for the extermination of Kurds regardless of where they live. There is an ongoing genocide of Kurds.

Syrian-Kurdish sources mentioned 4 months ago that Turkish forces in Syria are gathering Islamist groups to be dropped off in Azerbaijan. We condemn this and express our support for Armenian people, with whom we will stand forever. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027745.html

will Kocharyan face economic charges besides March 1st?

A casual talk between ruling QP MP Alen Simonyan and politically-motivated comedian Sergey Danielyan.

Danielyan: I know why Kocharyan is charged specifically with March 1st and not post-independence infrastructure embezzlement crimes, because March 1st was purely an Armenian crime. No foreign countries [Russia] are involved here. The govt is being cautious not to anger [Russia]. Otherwise, these infrastructure embezzlement crimes would also be uncovered.

MP Alen:... and they will be uncovered.

Danielyan: nah, I don't think so.

MP Alen: yes, believe me. If I told Kocharyan a few years ago that he would be charged with March 1st today, he would laugh at me.

Danielyan: but the infrastructure embezzlement is a bit "international". The govt is afraid.

MP Alen: look, if we were afraid of "internationals", we wouldn't even be here right now.

Full: https://youtu.be/4QtSp9NS2DY

the court verdict about Kocharyan assets

Judge Anna Danibekyan held a closed-door session and agreed to partially unfreeze Robik's assets. Reliable sources say he will have enough money to buy a one-way ticket to Sochi for culinary classes.

The judge kept Robik's house and $488,000 frozen. Robik says he got that money partly from the Russian SISTEMA company as a board member. He says it's legal and should be un-frozen.

Anna Danibekyan the judge whom the former regime called "Pashinyan's puppet" and harassed her while she was walking alone in the evening.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027729.html

https://factor.am/283896.html

Anti-corruption bust / Standard Dialogue

On Feb/12/2020, LHK asked Pashinyan to investigate a company called Standard Dialogue because it was getting a suspiciously high number of contracts and allegedly had "ties with someone".

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Police report says: officials at Economic Competition Committee colluded with several companies to falsify documents. In 2017, the officials falsified Standard Dialogue's papers to exempt 12 food companies from turnover taxation worth $322,000.

Additionally, the officials hired fake employees, gave them salaries and cars, worth $25,000.

A felony case is launched. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027762.html Parliament votes to appoint 3 new Constitutional Court judges

Yesterday the MPs did a Q&A with three judicial candidates nominated by the government, president, and judicial branch.

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The Corruption Prevention Commission (CPC) was monitoring the Q&A process and noted that some of the claims made by the candidates were false.

The president's nominee Arthur Vagharshyan claimed he received a call from CPC during which they discussed the candidate's family record and past activities as part of political parties. CPC denied holding such anti-corruption screening over the phone.

The government's nominee Edgar Shatinyan earlier claimed CPC made an error during personal property investigation. CPC made a counter-claim saying the candidate got it wrong.

Apparently, nothing disqualifying was found about either candidate.

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Today the MPs held a secret ballot vote to confirm or deny the nominees. The opposition LHK and BHK didn't participate.

Judicial nominee: 84-2

Government's nominee: 85-3

President's nominee: 86-1

All three will become Constitutional Court judges after quitting their current jobs and taking the Oath.

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Ind. MP Babajanyan criticized the appointment, saying it's a betrayal to the revolution's values. He didn't like some of the judges' records.

QP MP Rubinyan: there are complaints about the candidate nominated by the judicial branch, about his past verdicts and activities under the former regime. This candidate was nominated by judges and had to be a fellow judge. Since the job requires experience, it's likely that this candidate had to have worked under the former regime. As for Pashinyan's earlier speech in which he opposed judges whose verdicts were overturned by ECHR, Pashinyan mentioned that it's about judges with more serious types of human rights violations who should be disqualified.

QP MP Alen Simonyan: none of the judges are the government's servants and were never part of our team. (it's an indirect criticism aimed at HHK MP-turned chief-justice Hrayr Tovmasyan)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027663.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027689.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027704.html

https://factor.am/283783.html

https://factor.am/283804.html

https://factor.am/283816.html

Central Bank talks economy, interest rate

CB says the economy will shrink -6.2% in 2020, instead of the earlier predicted -4%.

Asian Development Bank predicts -4% for 2020, down from -3.5%.

GDP will grow by up to +5% in 2021, says CB.

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The 12-month inflation was 1.8% (relatively low). The world economy is recovering from COVID, but Armenia's trade partners still face difficulties.

As a result, the CB decided to lower the refinancing rate from 4.5% to 4.25%.

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What CB does with the refinancing rate affects everyone across the board "equally", while some industries were hit much harder by COVID, therefor the CB recommends the govt to use the budget for targeted programs aimed at specific industries.

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"Consumers are more likely to save these days, due to economic uncertainty."

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More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027683.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027735.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027737.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027737.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027756.html

he found the camera

The rare Caucasus leopard (Panthera pardus) was spotted by nature cameras... and the camera was spotted by the leopard. Busted!

https://youtu.be/0JEhjTC6pmw

soccer fans will return

COVID cases are dropping, so the soccer clubs will be allowed to bring 75 fans.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027739.html

this is NUTS!

A cop gave a ticket to a man for taking his mask off while eating nuts. When the man reminded that the law allows masks off while eating food, the cop insisted that nuts aren't considered "food".

"What are they? A beverage?", replied the man.

https://www.facebook.com/100003008104049/videos/3082513288525578/

COVID stats

+150 infected. +248 healed. +1 death. +2,761 tested. 243,704 tested. 2,975 active.

Georgia overtook Armenia with +170 daily infections. Most of them were from the Ajaria district (Georgia's Ejmiatsin moment?). There are 1,154 active cases.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027672.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027727.html

Parliament will audit govt's handling of COVID

Opposition LHK and BHK want to create a 12-member group tasked with auditing the government's handling of COVID. They accuse the govt of poor management which led to dozens of thousands of infections. "We will talk about how you allowed flights from Italy and Iran and held election campaigns."

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The ruling party fired back at the opposition, accusing them of misleading the public throughout the pandemic. "Some opposition MPs urged the public not to wear masks, on daily basis. When we introduced Emergency, some of you called for it to end quickly. When we introduced lockdowns, you roamed around the city and urged businesses to be re-opened."

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Recent public polls revealed that 71% of residents were satisfied with the govt's handling of COVID, with 85% satisfaction of Emergency Taskforce communication. Respondents viewed the infections primarily as a result of the general public's insufficient steps towards personal safety.

https://factor.am/283654.html

https://factor.am/283657.html

https://factor.am/283663.html

https://factor.am/283707.html

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/hvc45s/jul212020_news_150_million_drones_shot_russian/

students want tuition subsidies

5,300 students signed a letter to ask the govt for a tuition subsidy, or at least delay the payment date, "otherwise 500 students will be kicked out soon." PM's aide accepted the letter.

The govt can "ask" but cannot require universities to change their tuition collection terms because universities are governed independently, noted one official.

On April 23rd the govt passed the 14th COVID aid package which provided up to 100% tuition subsidies, depending on students' grades, for the second semester.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027712.html

schools open for everyone else

2nd and higher graders went to school today, for the first time since the pandemic.

Pashinyan gave an inspirational speech: hello kids. Today our children are critical of everything. Some believe that they can drive Mercedes G-class without education, but there is also the opposite belief that you cannot drive one without education. The way you spend every minute in school will define your future. (and the way you spend every minute on Facebook will define the quality of your future speeches)

Full: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=414589842855009&extid=5Q4v4Nn6XuWf8i1b

church subject in schools

Education Ministry plans reforms that reorganize how things are taught. The Church subject will be merged with Armenian History.

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The Church complained. They want to keep the subject separate, so kids can continue to դասից թռնել հենց որ եկեղեցու պատմությունը սկսի. Everybody knows the Church subject was the best time to ընգերուհու հետ թրև գալ մոտակա այգիներում, but now incompetent Minister Arayik Harutyunyan wants to երեխեքի ձեռից էտ մի կտոր հացը առնի by forcing them to attend classes։

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Minister Harutyunyan met the catholicos to discuss the changes. There will be a group tasked with examining the topic.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027667.html

nature protection inspectors could have more powers

The govt drafted a bill to authorize nature inspectors to instantly suspend a violating company's activities and to keep it suspended throughout a lawsuit shall the company appeal the decision.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027668.html

Universal transport system & payments / HayAvtoKayaran will not be privatized

HayAvtoKayaran will not be privatized if the Parliament approves the government's draft bill which removes the funny-looking transport center from the privatization list.

Infrastructure Ministry wants to establish a unified transport system across Armenia to connect all settlements. It'll have a universal ticket system. Various private transport companies will continue to operate the transportation between the settlements.

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HayAvtoKayaran is currently tasked with coordinating some of the transportation and is expected to play a bigger role in the future, so the govt believes it should remain under public control.

The govt plans to invest public and private funds for its development.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027716.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027718.html

connecting gas station pumps to sales receipt machine

IRS really wants those gas stations to pay their sales taxes. QP drafted a bill to use "high-tech" to establish an automated connection between the gas hose and the sales machine, so the receipt will be printed automatically.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027674.html

it's over

It's settled.

Done deal.

MFA Mnatsakanyan has answered the centuries-old question: Yes, Armenia is "Europe".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027749.html

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You've read 2146 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/itg8d2/sep152020_news_unified_transport_payment_network/

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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