2020 September 17

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Sep/17/2020 news: \\ TUMO expansion: labs & nano-tech \\ anti-corruption: officials to disclose purchases \\ oppo vs govt: verbal battle \\ busted: rector & cops \\ clinics+ \\ PM intervenes \\ COVID is back? \\ tourism sights \\ Human Capital Index \\ bills pass: free lawyer, genocide calls \\ debt
by ar_david_hh


TUMO high-tech school to expand / Labs / Nano-tech / Programming / Science

Education Ministry gave a 15,000m2 land in Yerevan to TUMO so it can build an engineering and scientific facility.

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Education Minister Harutyunyan: // the new labs will examine nano-technologies, biotech, and artificial intelligence.

Other universities can build their own specialized labs in TUMO and cooperate with TUMO's labs, under the condition that everyone will share all labs. Adults only.

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They'll teach programming to non-programmers by using a French school's curriculum. Students of all ages are welcome.

A French university's programming faculty will be established in this building.

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The construction begins in 2021 and ends in 2023. The facility will be self-financed a few years later. //

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195976

Parliament voted not to discuss Education Minister's resignation

Here is a context in case you missed the fight between opposition parties and Education Minister Harutyunyan: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/iu1dcm/sep162020_news_education_reforms_minister/

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195960

Pashinyan joins Education Minister to roast Tsarukyan

Context: yesterday the "traditionalist" opposition politicians accused Education Minister Harutyunyan of harming the Armenian language, church, history, etc. because they disagree with the upcoming major reforms. The argument heated and the Minister said you can't rape women in church then talk about the church (hinting to BHK leader Tsarukyan's rape conviction).

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Pashinyan today: // it's hard not to agree with the Minister. At first, you as a sergeant of police forces invite foreign women to show them a church, then you group-rape the guests and mug them. Then you engage in the protection of national values and identity. A true "patriotism". //

https://www.facebook.com/nikol.pashinyan/posts/2752700655050312

Tsarukyan roasts back

Tsarukyan responds: // I think it's time to amend the Constitution to clearly state that people with serious mental problems should not have the right to hold high political positions and endanger the public. //

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Context: it's aimed at Pashinyan. Possibly related to the former regime's media circulating rumors that Pashinyan was exempt from military service due to mental problems. The record, however, shows he was exempt because two of his brothers had already served, which disqualified him.

Former regime also spread unverified Telegram rumors that Pashinyan went to a psychiatric clinic in 2019 and they even gave a specific doctors' name. Fact-checkers found it to be false; the doctor wasn't even in Armenia.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195974

Ruling MPs respond to Tsarukyan / Minister's past

QP MP Alen Simonyan: // I'm confident that Tsarukyan's post about mental disorder was aimed at a fellow BHK MP Gevorg Petrosyan [the overly-traditionalist and anti-gay dude]. There are reports that he had mental problems dating back to the time when he was the Labor & Social Affairs Minister. His mental problem is why he had to leave the position after only holding the position for a few months. I'm sure the decision to replace him was made by Tsarukyan, who is currently trying to pretend to be a politician. //

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195974

BHK replies / they didn't joke about amending Constitution

BHK MP Iveta: // whoever that [mental health Facebook] post was aimed at has understood it was for them. No doubt QP MP Alen has a vivid imagination [about it being aimed at BHK Minister]. We're serious about amending the Constitution to block officials with serious mental problems. //

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195986

QP isn't joking, either / a bill already exists

QP MP Kristine: // then perhaps BHK should join and support the bill I introduced in 2019 which would require mental tests for MP candidates. If Parliament MPs elect a prosecutor who has to undergo a mental evaluation, why shouldn't MPs themselves undergo one?

BHK was against this bill. At the time, they said it was discriminatory and that anyone should be able to become MP. They must have had a change of mind since then. Maybe they'll support it now. //

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195997

QP summoned a meeting

The ruling party held a large meeting this evening. The PM, Governors, and Ministers were present. It wasn't over the spat with Tsarukyan.

Some QP MPs will resign to get a job at the government. There might be other rotation.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195990

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/196009

anti-corruption reform: purchases by public officials could be monitored

Justice Minister Badasyan introduced a draft bill to amend the law to require public officials to disclose [in annual declaration form] any purchases larger than $4,000, or if a collection of similar purchases exceed $6,000 (so officials won't split the same purchase into smaller pieces to hide).

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Moreover, the newly established Corruption Prevention Commission would be allowed to request an explanation if the official gains large properties within 2 years of leaving the office.

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The definition of a luxury property would lower from $16,000 to $8,000 so more properties would need to be declared.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/196000

should city council members also disclose their properties?

Another anti-corruption reform will require municipality councilmen to file the aforementioned declarations.

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LHK is against this because "it adds extra burden on councilmen so the cities could lose valuable councilmen who can't manage to handle their work and file papers at the same time. It already takes a great amount of effort to convince some good councilmen to work."

QP countered LHK's argument with, "it doesn't matter that good councilman volunteer their time for the city. If they are public officials and make decisions for the public, they should file paperwork to reduce corruption."

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One of these logics is simp while the other is chad. You decide... https://armtimes.com/hy/article/196000 former Yerevan State University rector is charged with embezzlement

Aram Simonyan is accused of embezzlement and/or waste. It's related to the Feb/19/2019 investigation in which he was accused of taking $10,000 in bribes. The SOC auditors had also discovered $830,000 in "damages" at the time.

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It was later clarified that the new charges are about alleged embezzlement of $71,000 in 2015, which is part of that wider $830,000 corruption investigation done by SOC two years ago.

The former rector denied the accusations.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/195941

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195956

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195979

ex-police chief Gasparyan charged with assaulting a journalist

Vladimir Gasparyan is officially charged with assaulting Azatutyun journalists who were using a drone to film his Sevan beach-front mansion, which was built too close to the lake and is subject to partial removal.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/196017

investigators bust another police brutality case

This one involves a prominent weightlifter and international referee Armen Ghazaryan. He and another detainee were assaulted in a police station by a group of cops, say the investigators.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195992

Hardline traditionalists vs Goerge Soros

Self-proclaimed hardcore traditionalists from "Kamq" group danced in front of the govt building and attempted to pour gasoline and burn Goerge Soros's dummy:

https://youtu.be/1NmFTCFscZI?t=111

Air Force One painting

Some outlets circulated rumors that last month the PM's office spent $250,000 to paint Prime Minister's Airbus A319. The govt says it's "completely fake news".

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/196030

the new judges took the oath

Three new Constitutional Court judges were earlier approved to fill the vacant seats in court. Today was the oath ceremony for two of them. They swore while in Parliament.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195957

update: clothing import tariffs

Last week several clothing importer businesses protested the new law that will calculate border tariffs based on each imported item instead of the package's weight. Something about EAEU rules that were announced last year but was implemented now due to COVID delay.

Today the IRS and businesses met to discuss ways to ease the burden on businesses. They struck a cooperation deal.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195965

COVID stats / schools / another wave coming?

4,319 tested in one day, the highest since July. +295 infected. +162 healed. +2 deaths. 3,232 active. 252,158 tested.

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Pashinyan: although the daily tests have increased, the number of daily infections has increased too, crossing 200 again. The public should be concerned.

Healthcare Ministry: 7% of tested came positive. That's higher than before.

Pashinyan: I saw street traffic for the first time since March. Probably related to school reopening. Perhaps the uptick in infections is related to the shopping/social activities that happen before the school season.

Practically, masks are our only tool to fight the virus. The police should strictly enforce the mask law. Masks aren't for covering your chin, it's for your mouth and nose.

Healthcare Ministry: we predict a rapid spread of COVID. 1 patient will infect >1 healthy. Right now it's at 1.02, just days after it was less than 1. Wash your hands and keep a distance.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195962

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195963

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195980

Coronawalrus forces Armenians to finally explore their country

Internal tourism boomed while air travel was banned. Here are some lesser-known sites that Armenians "discovered...

Tsiranavor church

... is in Ashtarak, Aragatsotn. The legend says 3 sisters fell in love with a dude named Sargis. The two elder sisters sacrifice themselves so the small sis will be happy with Sargis. They wear orange "tsirani" dress and jumped off a cliff, hence the name Tsiranavor. (FFS)

Dashtadem Castle

Located near Dashtadem, Aragatsotn, the castle was built on the 7th century on top of an ancient Urartian castle.

Agarak historical-cultural reserve

... is near Agarak, Aragatsotn. It's a rocky promontory of volcanic tuff protrusions (god bless google translate).

More in the link with maps and photos: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027881.html

Yerevan's clinics are developing

As part of a plan to develop Yerevan clinics, which are often a subject of quality-related complaints, this year the city spent $415,000 (3x vs 2018) to buy medical equipment.

"Clinics should be good enough to prevent patients from ending up in hospitals," said Mayor Marutyan, "last year we purchased 325 pieces of equipment. This year it's 134. Five clinics will be renovated."

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195981

Pashinyan intervenes to extend Yolyan director's contract

Yolyan blood clinic's director was supposed to be laid off on October 1st due to the contract's expiration. Ministry said it was due to his retirement age. A group of doctors asked Pashinyan to extend the contract, or else they'd quit.

Today Pashinyan decided to extend his contract. He also criticized some of the doctors who "pressured him by threatening to quit and intentionally place cancer-patient children's lives at risk."

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/196014

The discrimination of ethnic Armenians in Moscow continues

Moscow's largest Azeri-owned "Food City" bazaar still won't allow Armenian sellers to place an ad sign in their booths. Sellers complain it harms trade.

Truck drivers with Armenian license plates still aren't allowed to enter, although the bazaar administration left a "loophole" and allows trucks if the plates are covered.

Moscow authorities earlier claimed the conflict was "settled" but the sellers say otherwise.

The conflict between Food City and Armenians began after Azerbaijan lost the July Battles and Food City's Azeri owner got upset at ethnic Armenian civilians.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/195938

the fighter jets fly together

Pashinyan uploaded a video of all 4 SU-30SM fighter jets flying together for the first time during training.

https://youtu.be/qi7TsafUJQk

making fighter jet flights safer

Today the govt approved a transaction to repair two pieces of technologies (PAR-10 and MRM-80) to make jet flights safer and good and bad weather conditions.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027954.html more families of deceased soldiers to get free lawyers

Parliament voted 120-1 to approve a BHK bill to expand the list of people who qualify for free legal services.

Until now, families of those who died from the enemy fire could get lawyers for free. With the new law, non-combat deaths will also qualify.

Presumably, this isn't only about legal services related to the soldier's death; it's in general. The families cannot use the free legal service for business disputes, trials in which the compensation sum is very large, etc.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195967

inciting a genocide is now a felony crime

Parliament voted 121-0 to approve a QP bill to set an 8-10 year prison sentence for publicly and directly inciting a genocide.

10-14 years if it's done by a group with the help of mass media.

Up to life sentence if it's done by a group of public officials.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195968

sports gambling offices will be 150 meters away from...

... schools, cultural-historical buildings, government buildings, etc.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027946.html

gas explosion victims will get new apartments

A gas exploded in a Yerevan apartment complex a few weeks ago. 12 families were left homeless.

Today the govt decided to give them vouchers to buy new apartments. The subsidy is calculated based on the property's average price at $690/m2.

$378,000 will be spent for 12 families. They can spend all the aid on a "large" apartment, or they can buy a small one and keep part of the cash.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195978

preparing for Sep-21 Independence Day celebrations

The national symphonic orchestra will perform in the evening on the roof of the Opera building. The orchestra uploaded a teaser photo that said "can you guess where we are right now?". (հետո էլ երաժիշտներց կռիշի փող կհավաքեն որ ջարդածը վերանորոգեն)

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This year, too, the organizers will invite entrepreneurs as part of the "Մեր ժամանակների հերոսը" (hero of our times) program launched by Pashinyan last year. It's about encouraging startups. "The theme of celebrations is to honor the citizens of Armenia."

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Elsewhere, the Armenia flag will be lit on the world's tallest Burj Khalifa building, and the Niagara falls.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195959

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/195983

Armenian wrestlers win 12 medals

... during an international competition in Belarus. 2 gold, 5 silver, 5 bronze, unlimited minutes and SMS.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1028006.html

Human Capital Index

Armenia has slightly improved its ranking in WorldBank's Human Capital Index among 174 countries.

"A baby born in Armenia today could expect to achieve just 58% of their potential human capital, relative to a benchmark of complete education and full health."

http://arka.am/en/news/society/armenia_slightly_improves_its_standing_in_world_bank_human_capital_index_report/

Foreign debt

Armenia's foreign debt was reducing until the pandemic arrived. There was a sharp increase in April, followed by a smaller monthly increase.

Today it's $6.057b compared to $5.700b in April.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/121646

Iranian company will build a trash facility in Hrazdan

As part of a 2016 agreement with the European Development Bank, Armenia will have a new trash collection facility in Hrazdan, with European standards.

Iranian Tunnel Sad Ariana won the auction for the contract after meeting the standards and offering the lowest price.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027956.html

Metsamor nuclear power plant

The ongoing repairs are meant to extend its lifespan until 2026. Today Armenia held talks with the Russian RosAtom energy giant about the possibility to extend the reactor beyond 2026.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027986.html

Armenian writings of Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo used to write mysterious letters with both hands with each hand going in the opposite direction. He used to drop other mysterious bits and pieces to confuse the reader.

The dude also wrote an "Armenian letter" which depicts part of Armenia.

More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1027909.html

https://allinnet.info/interesting/armenian-writings-of-leonardo-da-vinci/

Armenian "Krisp" high-tech company

... made it in Forbes's top-20 "rising star" list. It uses AI to remove background noise and recently held a successful fundraiser.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrickcai/2020/09/16/cloud-100-rising-stars-2020

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You've read 2435 words. That's a lot. Have a sip ☕


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/iuqv8b/sep172020_news_tumo_expansion_labs_nanotech/

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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