2021 April 22
- 1 Daily news wrap-up
- 2 economy shows signs of recovery / before and after pandemic stats
- 3 government allocates ֏100m for post-war mental health services
- 4 Kotayk to have a "rehabilitation city" for soldiers
- 5 Nature Ministry rejects extra water use petition by two hydros
- 6 Parliament invites army official to answer questions about soldiers' vacations & healthcare
- 7 army deaths in 2020: car accidents, health issues, murder, etc.
- 8 Armenia will provide Artsakh an additional ֏10 billion/year aid for 10 years
- 9 Armenia will allocate ֏4b to subsidize Artsakh's utility bills
- 10 Armenia's foreign debt
- 11 government gave tax waivers to businesses to make investments
- 12 social mortgage system for low-income families / mortgage subsidy
- 13 Venice Commission approves Electoral Reforms bill ahead of snap elections
- 14 President Sarkissian sent the Education Reforms package to Constitutional Court
- 15 prosecutors appeal Kocharyan verdict in Appeals Court
- 16 Franklin Gonzales bail is rejected
- 17 arrests and searches after opposition activists attack Pashinyan's convoy in Syunik
- 18 PACE Monitoring Committee urges Azerbaijan to free Armenian POWs
- 19 Canadian Green MP urges MFA to follow Human Rights Watch report
- 20 update: Tuesday's ceasefire violation in Artsakh
- 21 Russia continues to indirectly urge Azerbaijan to release POWs
- 22 Russia is critical of Aliyev's Saddam Park in Baku
- 23 Russia urges Armenia and Azerbaijan to follow trilateral documents
- 24 Azeri officials criticize Russia for a planned military parade in Artsakh
- 25 vehicle explods in an industrial site in Yerevan
- 26 April 24 Genocide memorial day
- 27 U.S. ambassador Tracey traveled to Syunik province
- 28 Los Angeles municipality declares April the Armenian history month
- 29 grandmaster Hayk Martirosyan wins a chess tournament in Belgrade
- 30 COVID stats
- 31 polls: would you willingly apply to receive a vaccine?
- 32 end of report
- 33 Support David's Daily Armenia News Summaries!
Daily news wrap-up
News recap - Apr/22/2021: (1) Economy recovering: jobs, income, turnover, tourism, debt (2) Venice Commission OKs electoral reform (3) Mental health aid (4) New rehab center (5) Social mortgage system for families (6) Annual aid for Artsakh: utilities & farming (7) Arrests after attack in Syunik (8)
Your 10-minute Thursday report in 2379 words.
economy shows signs of recovery / before and after pandemic stats
Pashinyan during govt session: in March we recorded a growth (+2,500) in the number of job positions that generate income and pay salaries. The pandemic began in last year's March. To have a more clear picture, we compared it to 2019 numbers, too. We have +38,000 such job positions compared to 2019 March.
There was ֏131b in taxation, up by ֏7.5b YoY, or up by ֏24b from 2019. Do we know if these jobs are new or they came out of the shadows?
IRS chief: some of it came out of shadows, some of it was new. During one of our operations, 200 shadowy jobs were brought to the legal field in a single day.
Pashinyan: we have 622,000 job positions that pay salaries. We crossed the 600K mark for the first time in 2019. These are record-high numbers.
Economy Minister Qerobyan: the growth is related to economic growth and not just a fight against the shadowy economy. The economy is sharply recovering. I expect 7% economic growth in March. There were no pandemic-related job terminations as of March 2020 yet, so today's job market stats are comparable to the pre-pandemic state.
Approx. 375K tourists visited Armenia in 2020. This year we plan to host 1.2M.
Pashinyan: the trade turnover is also up. Some of this is likely due to the recent inflation, but a 22% increase cannot be explained by a 5-6% inflation, especially since the number of printed sales receipts increased by 4 million units in the first half of April.
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=229690828905268 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049846.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049864.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049867.html https://youtu.be/4RZetfqAyoc
government allocates ֏100m for post-war mental health services
It's for helping 10,000 citizens to return to normal daily lives by helping with the emotional and mental state. Prior to this, mental help was largely provided with charity funds.
Kotayk to have a "rehabilitation city" for soldiers
Kotayk's Proshyan settlement will have a new complex for recovering soldiers. It will be built in three phases. The Nature Ministry will open a park named after war hero Vardan Amalyan. Then a building will be built by Դի Էս company. There will be three, for now.
The mini-city will have a waterfall system, open-air rehab equipment, beekeeping area, pottery, etc.
They are working with Stepanakert's Caroline Cox Recovery Center to train experts.
Nature Ministry rejects extra water use petition by two hydros
Two small hydros wanted to drain additional water from the Dzoraget River. Environmentalists complained that it would harm the river and ecosystem. Nature Ministry denied the petitions.
Parliament invites army official to answer questions about soldiers' vacations & healthcare
Several parents complained earlier that their conscript sons have been unable to use vacations and that the conditions in front-line trenches are bad. A military representative appeared in Parliament today.
An NGO asked whether a POW, who was recently repatriated, was sent back to the army because he was a conscript and hadn't finished the legal service yet. The army official confirmed that it's possible, but only if there is a medical and mental evaluation. A letter will be sent to the army command regarding the law that regulates this.
army deaths in 2020: car accidents, health issues, murder, etc.
Stats for before, during, and after the war. Without counting deaths directly caused by enemy fire.
25 from personal health issues, 22 vehicle accidents, 18 suicide or driving someone to suicide, 17 ceasefire violations, 9 other accidents, 4 murders, 3 violations of weapon safety protocols, 1 violation of other protocols, 1 mine explosion.
Armenia will provide Artsakh an additional ֏10 billion/year aid for 10 years
Today the government approved a plan to sign an agreement between the governments of AM and AR. It's for building and renovating buildings, vehicles, buses, agricultural tech, cattle, etc.
Armenia will allocate ֏4b to subsidize Artsakh's utility bills
The government approved the extension of the aid package that began months earlier. It will be active for the entire 2021.
Additionally, there is an aid for private businesses to encourage job creation. Labor Minister noted that "֏420m was provided in Jan-Feb period, resulting in 600 new jobs."
Armenia's foreign debt
Finance Minister Atom: while the world economy grew 2.9% in 2019, Armenia grew 7.6%. This allowed for Healthcare and Education budgets to increase. The 2019 situation allowed us to preserve the logic of fiscal policy in 2020 by borrowing more.
We had a higher deficit than we had initially planned, it was 5.5% instead of 2.3%. That's the price we paid to alleviate pandemic problems.
The debt-to-GDP ratio was 63.5% in 2020. We will decrease it to 60% within 5 years to ensure the risk is considered "manageable" per international standards. The numbers in Armenia are comparable with other developing states in 2020.
government gave tax waivers to businesses to make investments
Dustr Marianna Inc. will invest $47 million in butter raw material purchase and production. 30 new jobs with ֏140k salary.
Garegin Hakobyan Noraeli Inc. tourism agency got a waiver to invest ֏4m for 4 new jobs in Tavush.
Labor Ministry: the primary social issue in Armenia is the need for housing for low-income families, lack of which leads to series of social, health, and education problems.
We drafted a bill to establish a social mortgage system. The government will subsidize the loan principal and interest for housing in provinces. Depending on the number of children they have, the subsidy will start from ֏6.5m. There won't be restrictions.
This program will provide a permanent solution to the housing problems considered unsolvable for many years. //
Venice Commission approves Electoral Reforms bill ahead of snap elections
Context: a bipartisan group has been developing amendments to how elections are held. It's a big package so the government decided to split it and pass a small portion ahead of snap elections, for now. The part of replacing the Rating system with Proportional was approved recently.
Venice Commission is satisfied that a bipartisan group drafted the reforms and the timeframes were respected. While Venice does not advise changes close to elections, they found that this change will not have a significant negative effect on the upcoming snap elections.
Venice welcomed the reforms, saying it's based on suggestions made by Venice and its partners.
Venice noted that no one voted against the bill in Parliament.
President Sarkissian sent the Education Reforms package to Constitutional Court
He did not sign the bill and chose to ensure parts of it are not in violation of the Constitution. Read this to learn more about what's in the reforms.
prosecutors appeal Kocharyan verdict in Appeals Court
Constitutional Court struck down Article 300.1 that Kocharyan was accused of violating. The law went poof, so the charges went poof. Prosecutors complained that the way a relevant law is written doesn't allow charges to be changed thus allowing perpetrators to get away and deprives victims of justice. They asked the Lower Court to join them in filing an appeal with Constitutional Court.
Instead, the Lower Court simply dropped the March 1st case. Today the prosecutors filed an appeal with Appeals Court.
Franklin Gonzales bail is rejected
Serj's nephew Narek Sargsyan will not be allowed to post ֏25m bail and walk free. He recently confessed to charges. He was accused of possessing or distributing weapons, narcotics, and explosives in 2018, before fleeing with a fake passport under Franklin Gonzales's name.
arrests and searches after opposition activists attack Pashinyan's convoy in Syunik
His bodyguard was physically assaulted and the vehicle was attacked by a group of 50 activists. One of the participants was identified by media as a mayor from the opposition HHK party who charged with corruption months earlier. The attack followed months-long incitement of physical violence.
The police launched "hooliganism" and "attacking state officials" charges. The HHK mayor of Meghri Mkhitar Zakaryan is facing charges. SIS invited him for questioning. The Deputy police chief dismissed the opposition's accusations about political motivations by Pashinyan. "If there was a crime, there has to be action against it."
When asked why the police displayed inaction during the attack, the police official said "policemen did their duties but could not have done more under those conditions. You saw the state they were in."
HRO received a complaint claiming that one of the detainees, a local municipality member, was detained despite being sick.
The police official dismissed a rumor about hundreds of detainees. "There were several searches and detentions. The police acted proportionately." 16 detentions were made after the attack.
Later that day, the opposition organized a protest in front of the prosecutor's building in Yerevan in support of the detained HHK mayor and others. ARF Artsvik Minasyan wants the suspects freed and Pashinyan arrested. He also complained that Pashinyan's visit to Syunik was unannounced [it allowed him to meet locals freely without roadblocks unlike last time].
Prosecutors complained that the gathered protesters were not constructive and refused to form a group to enter the building for discussions, instead, opting "to present unclear demands over felony cases."
The activists became violent and threw objects at police officers. They attempted to break into the building. The police made 14 detentions. One officer was hospitalized after feeling unwell.
Ind. MP Babajanyan: the real intention of the organizers of this hooliganism is to create an atmosphere of fear ahead of snap elections to discredit the results. It's also against Armenia's attempt to overcome internal and external challenges
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049861.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049863.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049891.html https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/212020 https://factor.am/362321.html https://factor.am/362388.html https://factor.am/362363.html https://factor.am/362340.html https://youtu.be/bsfArSiyXS0 https://factor.am/362246.html https://youtu.be/cXAxQjUWCL0 https://youtu.be/f6jJ1VvqSps
PACE Monitoring Committee urges Azerbaijan to free Armenian POWs
It notes that one of the parties [Armenia] has already fulfilled Article 8 of the November 9 statement. It urges the immediate release of approximately 188 POWs.
It also urges the Parliaments of both states to take steps towards establishing an atmosphere of trust to help the populations.
Canadian Green MP urges MFA to follow Human Rights Watch report
... and to pressure Azerbaijan to release the POWs.
update: Tuesday's ceasefire violation in Artsakh
A bullet struck the roof of a residential building in Stepanakert two days ago. Peacekeepers and police came to investigate. Details here in case you missed yesterday's news.
The police say they are investigating whether a small-caliber bullet could have reached from Shushi to Stepanakert. As for reports about similar incidents in Shosh and Mkhitarashen, the police said in the morning that they haven't received reports about damage but it will be investigated.
Artsakh MFA: Azerbaijan intends to shed a negative light on the peacekeeping mission in Artsakh and to stoke panic among the population with ceasefire violations in various directions in recent days.
Armenian MFA: "Azerbaijan made a desperate attempt to blame the ceasefire violation on the Armenian side. You must have a really bright imagination to believe that Armenians would fire shots are the direction of their strategic partner Russian peacekeepers' positions."
Russia continues to indirectly urge Azerbaijan to release POWs
All-for-all POW repatriation approach will contribute to progress in several other issues, said Russian MFA spokeswoman. Armenia, Russia, and the EU support the "all-for-all" approach.
Russia is critical of Aliyev's Saddam Park in Baku
When asked to comment the Saddam Park, Zakharova said, "We hope that parties to the conflict will try to take such steps that are aimed at normalizing relations, and not creating new dividing lines. Many lives were lost. The moment should be used to establish peaceful life and not to make the situation even worse than before."
Russia urges Armenia and Azerbaijan to follow trilateral documents
Russian MFA was asked to comment on Aliyev's earlier words about taking Zangezur with force if Armenia refuses to provide road access to Nakhijevan (Azeri MFA later backtracked on land claim). "We urge [both sides] to refrain from revanchist sentiments and militaristic rhetoric which could bring the region to the brink of war again. We urge for the implementation of November 9 and January 11 agreements, while reminding that the unblocking of regional transport routes is part of that agreement."
Azeri officials criticize Russia for a planned military parade in Artsakh
Russia plans to use 400 peacekeepers to mark the May 9th victory day. An Azeri Parliamentary official called it a provocative move, "they are there to preserve peace and not to hold parades. They know that any unnecessary step creates distrust in Azerbaijan. Such steps are unacceptable," said Sabir Rustamkhanli.
vehicle explods in an industrial site in Yerevan
Two died and one was injured from the explosion of a gas canister in a vehicle in the Jermuk Group facility.
April 24 Genocide memorial day
Tsitsernakaberd will be open this year. There will be two free public transport routes to the memorial.
In other news, we learned yesterday that Biden plans to make an announcement on April 24th. Rumors say he plans to join the U.S. Congress in recognizing the Genocide. Turkish Lira declined 2.2% against the Dollar today.
After being suspended from the F-35 jet purchase program in 2019, the U.S. announced that Turkey's suspension will continue because of its cooperation with Russia.
U.S. ambassador Tracey traveled to Syunik province
... to learn about ongoing economic and aid programs financed by the U.S. Over half of Meghri farmers receive agricultural aid from USAID. Tracey visited the dried fruit factory and the St. Hovhannes church, which also received aid from USAID. In Kapan, she met the graduates of an education program.
Los Angeles municipality declares April the Armenian history month
grandmaster Hayk Martirosyan wins a chess tournament in Belgrade
Shant Sargsyan finishes second. Ապրեք․
4858 tested. 881 infected. 887 healed. 25 deaths. 15281 active (down).
polls: would you willingly apply to receive a vaccine?
21% of women and 33% of men would.
20% of youth. 38% of elderly.
end of report
The accused are innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law, even if they "appear" guilty.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/mwe4mm/news_recap_apr222021_1_economy_recovering_jobs/
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