2021 April 8
- 1 Daily news wrap-up
- 2 science in Armenia: quantum, physics, cleanrooms, isotopes, military & economy
- 3 science budget is increased by ֏2.8B
- 4 salaries will increase in the science field
- 5 1,500 teachers will receive a 30-50% salary raise in November
- 6 military reforms / conscript or professional?
- 7 amnesty for those who dodged the army
- 8 bill: workers to receive company shares more easily / voting and non-voting shares
- 9 companies receive tax waivers as an investment incentive
- 10 🍿 Kocharyan is suing Pashinyan (again) 🍿
- 11 Armenia is added to the list of countries with few inmates per-capita
- 12 authorities finalize investigation of ֏256M embezzlement case involving police official
- 13 Russian general prosecutor arrives in Armenia
- 14 group of POWs might return after diplomatic meetings
- 15 group of Azeri parents organize protest over missing sons
- 16 Russian media writes about regional railway unblocking
- 17 Russian peacekeepers distributed aid to Khnatsakh, Artsakh villagers
- 18 United Stats condemned Turkish residents in Cyprus for organizing a party in the Armenian monastery Makaravanq
- 19 property crime increased in Artsakh in 2020
- 20 Pashinyan hosted Artsakh president Arayik to discuss the ongoing humanitarian programs
- 21 global food prices have increased 10 months in a row
- 22 Central Bank injects dollar into the market
- 23 COVID stats
- 24 doctor Vahram Gabrielyan got infected three times
- 25 latest scientific data on AstraZeneca vaccine
- 26 15,000 Sputnik-V vaccines arrive in Yerevan
- 27 Healthcare Ministry publishes January-March COVID expenditures report
- 28 Kourtney Kardashian shared images of tolma=
- 29 Artsakh govt will subsidize the spring crop seeds
- 30 statue of Fearless Girl is erected in front of the government building
- 31 25 Gegharquniq schools will have their cafeterias renovated
- 32 students are taught how to react during emergency sirens
- 33 rescued bears return to normal life
- 34 women's soccer: Armenia vs Lebanon (spoiler alert)
- 35 European wrestling championship spoiler: Armenian wrestlers win gold and bronze
- 36 today in history
- 37 end of report
- 38 Support David's Daily Armenia News Summaries!
Daily news wrap-up
Apr/8/2021: (1) Amnesty for army dodgers (2) POW negotiations intensify (3) Science in Armenia: first cleanroom, quantum & physics (4) Budget increased for science & teachers (5) Military reform: Pro or Conscript? (6) Robik sues Nikol (7) Shareholder bill (8) Inmate stats (9) Sports victories + more
Your 13-minute Thursday report in 3141 words.
science in Armenia: quantum, physics, cleanrooms, isotopes, military & economy
Interview with Ani Aprahamian, the head of National Science Laboratory (Yerevan Physics Institute).
What are your institute's priorities this year?
We expect a number of significant developments. The first is the creation of a new department of quantum physics and technology. Armenia will be part of the global tech development. International scientific institute "Gate 42" will partner with us.
We will use the radioactive isotopes produced by the cyclotron to test some basic aspects of quantum physics.
We are developing the lab infrastructure. The new cryogenic center will allow us to produce special hyperbaric units, which could be sold in the international market besides being used locally.
We will have an advanced laboratory of detectors with state-of-the-art digital electronics detectors, which will enable our scientists to compete for international projects.
We will also have Armenia's first-ever "Class 1000 Cleanroom" which will allow us to have progress in material science, high-precision operation of detectors, etc.
Science allows us to solve healthcare, economic, and security issues. I prepared and sent an offer to the World Bank and diasporan colleagues; it'll be discussed during the government session next week. This will give Armenia an opportunity to take a serious step forward. It is the investment in science that will lead to economic success.
Tell us more about the Class 1000 Cleanroom
Armenia has none at the moment. Its introduction will allow us to conduct studies that are completely impossible right now. We were thinking about invisible materials in the case of infrared radiation, which could help us during a war.
Additionally, cleanroom allows us to demonstrate the capabilities of our existing devices and further develop mid-level infrastructure to bring it to the global market. We signed a memorandum of cooperation with multiple institutes for utilizing the cleanroom. It shows that there is demand for it.
We presented the cleanroom project to ARPA and they agreed to finance it. We need to import the filters from the United States to build the cleanroom.
Will universities and other institutes be allowed to use your lab?
Of course. The goal is to provide access to students and researchers. In less than 3 years of my return to Armenia, I've signed memorandums with 13 institutes. Institutes must cooperate in order for science to develop in Armenia. Global research shows that post-soviet republics were able to multiply their research potential 10x through such internal cooperations.
The COVID pandemic was a great opportunity to cooperate with the Molecular Institute, Physics institute, Polytechnic, etc.
Tell us more about reforming the cryogenic center
The new center will give us a stable production of liquid oxygen and nitrogen. The center we have today is a good one, but it malfunctions twice a week because it's 60 years old.
The new center will double our production. It will allow Armenia to be self-sufficient in oxygen. During the 44-day war and the pandemic, we were forced to import liquid oxygen from Georgia.
The new cryogenic center will also ensure industrial development. For example, diasporan doctors purchased two respiratory hyperbaric chambers, with each costing $100,000. Our institute can help produce such devices for a much lower price but we need a steady supply of liquid oxygen first, which is where the cryogenic center comes into play.
These devices are used for the rehabilitation of stroke patients, preparation of mountain climbers, COVID patients.
You've mentioned that the recently-obtained cyclotron can be used for scientific purchases. There was a talk of conducting experiments on nuclear physics using a proton beam. Tell us more.
The cyclotron is being used for nuclear medicine. In 2020, we managed to expose the proton beam for experimental purposes. Unfortunately, our scientist Albert Avetisyan passed away a few days ago. We also need to obtain detectors and digital electronics; we're working on it.
What is the proton beam for?
We plan to use it to test a high-precision device developed by our institute. Additionally, the isotopes can be used for brain research, bio-chemistry, blood clots research. These are global challenges today.
We launched discussions with the Pharmaceutical Institute to expand the testing of new drugs that are created with the help of PET and isotopes. We received grants from the US and UK.
What programs do you have to recruit young scientists?
In 2019 we hired 23 young scientific and technical workers; 11 were students. In 2020 we hired 24. We are doing everything possible to assist them. We have over 70 young scientists today, 20 of whom are students.
Our institute is a bridge to large scientific projects and institutes. In 2019 we organized 12 international conferences and 30 colloquium (academic meetings).
science budget is increased by ֏2.8B
Today the government made a redistribution in the 2021 budget to increase the ֏13.1B science budget by ֏2.8B. The additional funds will be used for thematic scientific research and infrastructure renovation (֏1B).
The goal is to increase youth participation in science and to conduct more research. More types of science project auctions will be held. Lead scientists will compete for 50 grants by creating their research groups.
Pashinyan: We have had dozens of discussions on this topic. Financing a project does not necessarily mean there will be substantive results. This is why we must ensure the funds are spent where necessary. The increase of the scientific budget will become continuous. This is just the first phase.
salaries will increase in the science field
Deputy PM Avinyan: the raise will be at all levels, from students to the heads of institutes. There will be significant changes between 2022-2025. We are reviewing the salary system because currently, science isn't as appealing as other fields, which is why there is a shortage of young scientists.
1,500 teachers will receive a 30-50% salary raise in November
Pashinyan: I attach great importance to the teacher qualification process, which is entering a practical phase. We will introduce a new and important factor in the system of general education. Teachers will be incentivized to improve their skills. [those who take a certification test will see a salary raise].
military reforms / conscript or professional?
Pashinyan during govt session: We need to have discussions about the future structure of our armed forces, including about conscripts.
Do we need a professional army or a conscript army? I'm not talking about "contractors", I'm talking about "professionals", because we saw in practice that a contractor isn't necessarily a professional.
amnesty for those who dodged the army
The government approved a draft bill by Justice Ministry to pardon the dodgers. The goal is to give an opportunity to diasporans to return and contribute to "Armenia's economic, social, spiritual, and cultural development."
The amnesty applies to those over the age of 27 who dodged the army before the 44-day war. It includes people who have an active warrant against them. The amnesty also applies to those who physically appear at a police station before Dec/31/2021. It applies to over 5,000 young men.
Pashinyan: although it may seem inappropriate to issue an amnesty for those who dodged the 44-day war, it's still necessary because our army is entering a new chapter and a new stage of reforms. We are setting a new point, and moving forward from that point. This is the first time an amnesty is being applied for those who violated this specific Article.
90% of people on the prosecutors' wanted list are on it because of army dodging. Keep in mind the amnesty is only for those over the age of 27.
There used to be a law about paying a fine and having the charges dropped. It had some impact for several years but did not bring the desired results. The new bill for amnesty is a political decision and we carry responsibility for it. This will open a new chapter with our relations with the diaspora.
Diaspora Committee chief Zareh: many young men avoided military service in the past because of the state of morale in the army. During the 44-day war, some of them wanted to return but they couldn't because of the felony warrant.
QP MP Andranik: Many diasporans are highly educated. They could be a great mobilization resource in the future if necessary.
Random dude David Movsesyan: I left the country as a child. I've been wanting to return to Armenia for 17 years. This law is a great opportunity for us. Many of us want to return and live in Armenia.
[The bill is not a law yet. Don't buy a ticket yet.]
Details: https://youtu.be/vf8IWg5wbFw , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1048431.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1048415.html , https://youtu.be/aeNtrWHu1HA , https://factor.am/356971.html , https://youtu.be/joTR07e5tok , https://youtu.be/YFDnq9EwR2M , https://factor.am/357159.html
Justice Minister Badasyan introduced a bill to amend the law that regulates publicly trades companies and stocks to bring Armenia in line with international practices.
Minister: the amendment will allow the issuance of ordinary shares of different classes. Today we have two types of shares: simple and privileges (հասարակ և արտոնյալ, whatever the jargon is).
Privileged shares usually do not give the shareholder voting power, and instead, maximizes their dividends and provide more rights in the event the company goes bust.
After the amendment, the basic shares will also have classes and flexibility. Certain classes of basic shares will provide more voting power, while others will have less in exchange for other rights.
The amendment also amends the process of workers receiving their company's shares. Right now, there are strict rules on them becoming shareholders. We want to make it easier for workers to become shareholders, as it's done elsewhere in the world. This will encourage the workforce and increase employee retention rates.
companies receive tax waivers as an investment incentive
The government gave a tax waiver to Kapavor road builder to invest ֏381M in the creation of 15 new jobs with a ֏200K average salary. The company will produce ֏2B worth products.
ML Mining mining company received a tax wavier to invest ֏4B on top of its existing investments. It'll create 50 jobs in Kotayk with a ֏250K average salary.
Rock Berry received a waiver to import technology for strawberry production on a 3ha land in Kotayk. They will invest ֏2.6B and create 70 new jobs with a ֏200K salary.
Betonagits is a door and window producer. The waiver will allow them to invest ֏2.2B and create 6 new jobs in Yerevan with ֏200K salaries
🍿 Kocharyan is suing Pashinyan (again) 🍿
Kocharyan believes his right to trial was violated and that Pashinyan defamed him during a public square speech on March 1st. His lawyer said that although Pashinayn did not name Kocharyan during the speech, "it is obvious from speech that he was referring to Kocharyan". Rob wants ֏4M from Nikol.
This isn't the first time. He sued Pashinyan over alleged defamation back in 2019. At the time, he ended up being the one to pay $400 to compensate for Pashinyan's legal fees. It was a similar trial in which Pashinyan argued he did not directly accuse Kocharyan of committing a crime.
(yes, the popcorn emoji is officially back)
Armenia is added to the list of countries with few inmates per-capita
European SPACE researchers found that Armenia has 75 inmates per 100K population, which is much lower than Europe's 103 average. 2.9M population with 2.2K inmates.
Armenia is among the countries with the biggest drop in the prison population. It is likely because of Pashinyan's 2018 mass amnesty.
Armenian female inmates are allowed to keep their children before they turn 3, although there are no such instances among 69 female inmates.
11% of inmates are there for >20 years. 1% are <1 year.
There are 155 foreign citizens with 6 being Europeans.
In 2019, the penitentiaries spent €18 per inmate per day, which is significantly higher from €13 in 2018, but it's still lower than European €64.
The report says: a company called UkrInvest signed a ֏1.59B contract with the police department to paint road markings and install traffic signs.
The director of the company decided to embezzle ֏256M in state funds by doing the work partially, while the police official, who was tasked with verifying the job quality, decided to sign and certify the incomplete job as being complete.
The cop and director are charged with felonies. The stolen ֏256M has been recovered.
Russian general prosecutor arrives in Armenia
... to discuss legal topics, as well as the repatriation of Armenian POWs. The last time they met in Moscow, several POWs ended up being released shortly afterward.
Today they signed a memorandum on improving prosecutors' skills. This was Russian prosecutor Igor Krasnov's "first foreign trip, and the first of its kind since 2013."
Krasnov then held a meeting with Pashinyan and the Russian ambassador Kopyprkin. They discussed POWs.
group of POWs might return after diplomatic meetings
Putin called Aliyev to discuss the topic of POWs, with the context being Pashinyan's yesterday trip to Moscow.
Russian general prosecutor Krasnov flew from Yerevan to Baku.
Turkey: this ceasefire is a great opportunity. It opens up a new possibility for regional stability and implementation of important projects in the region to normalize relations. If Armenia gives a positive evaluation, the Southern Caucasus can once again see peace and stability. //
Pashinyan office: a flight is scheduled to repatriate a group of POWs tonight.
Deputy PM Avinyan: unfortunately the POW return is delayed. The negotiations continue with the mediation of Russia. We hope Azerbaijan will eventually respect the November 9th statement, thus contributing to the establishment of stability in the region.
(էս ինչ դվիժենիներ են էսօր?)
group of Azeri parents organize protest over missing sons
They complained about insufficient search operations in former battlefields to find their missing sons.
Russian media writes about regional railway unblocking
RBK outlet: Azerbaijan wants the southern Meghri railway to open first, whereas Armenia wants the southern Meghri and northern Ijevan railways to open simultaneously.
The railway operator in Meghri will likely be Russian-owned South Caucasus Railways which runs the railway in Armenia.
Despite what Ilham Aliyev claims publicly about a "Meghri corridor", there is no negotiation over a "corridor" behind the curtains.
Russian peacekeepers distributed aid to Khnatsakh, Artsakh villagers
United Stats condemned Turkish residents in Cyprus for organizing a party in the Armenian monastery Makaravanq
property crime increased in Artsakh in 2020
The 488 recorded cases were 208 more than in 2019. The war contributed to it, with some residents finding their abandoned properties stolen. 43% of perpetrators were low-income or unemployed.
Pashinyan hosted Artsakh president Arayik to discuss the ongoing humanitarian programs
global food prices have increased 10 months in a row
UN released a month-over-month report. The largest jump was seen in sunflower oil prices with +8%. Red meat +2.3%. Grains -1.8% (but remains +26% YoY).
Central Bank injects dollar into the market
The CB monitors the fiat, inflation, etc., and decided to sell dollars "to ensure the stability of markets."
4943 tested. 1231 infected. 816 healed. 28 deaths. 16471 active (up).
doctor Vahram Gabrielyan got infected three times
He will be vaccinated soon. He urges residents to respect doctors by wearing protection. (sounds kinky if you ask me)
latest scientific data on AstraZeneca vaccine
A rare type of blood clot is observed among 5 out of 1 million patients annually if they don't take this vaccine, and 35 out of 1 million if they do.
The European health agency says there is a link but it's still very rare. It affects predominantly women under the age of 60. It's been compared to a side effect caused by certain blood thinner medications. Scientists believe the benefits outweigh the risks.
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/03/rare-clotting-disorder-may-cloud-worlds-hopes-astrazenecas-covid-19-vaccine , https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/cerebral-venous-sinus-thrombosis
15,000 Sputnik-V vaccines arrive in Yerevan
Those in a risky category will be treated first.
...but do people WANT to be vaccinated?
Yes, according to Healthcare Minister Andreasyan. "The interest is quite high. The priority will be given to medics, patients with cornic illnesses, seniors." Minister said it's very hard to obtain large quantities of vaccines because of limited supplies, but "we are doing everything possible to get more."
Healthcare Ministry publishes January-March COVID expenditures report
Total ֏3.9B spent. The categories are listed below:
She presented three types of Armenian tolma to her Instagram followers.
Artsakh govt will subsidize the spring crop seeds
Farmers will receive numerous subsidies, depending on the land size and type of crops.
statue of Fearless Girl is erected in front of the government building
It aims to promote women's participation in politics and governance. The idea belonged to Artsakh Labor Minister Mane Tandilyan.
Various culture and arts figures complained about the proportion of her head-to-body ratio. (էլ բան ու գործ չունեք արա?). They believe the sculptor fell short of sending a powerful message with an Armenian traditional taraz dress.
The statue was compared with the one installed in New York. It's the bootleg version of New York, argue critics.
25 Gegharquniq schools will have their cafeterias renovated
... as part of an UN-Armenia joint project.
students are taught how to react during emergency sirens
140 students and teachers in Vayots Dzor received evacuation training.
rescued bears return to normal life
Several bears were rescued from restaurants recently. The WRC nature agency has 19 rescued bears. 16 of them have restored their natural cycle and entered a deep winter nap. The rest are "dozing". This is the first time these bears were able to properly sleep.
women's soccer: Armenia vs Lebanon (spoiler alert)
Lebanese team was able to resolve their visa issues and arrive in Armenia.
The Armenian team won with a 2:0 score. It's part of "Our Game" international tournament between a few countries, "the first female tournament held in Armenia."
European wrestling championship spoiler: Armenian wrestlers win gold and bronze
Chad Karen Avagyan won gold while Andranik Karapetyan won bronze
Watch the full thing: https://youtu.be/51CjxrHRfSw
today in history
1934: diasporan-Armenian Vartan Gregorian is born. He is the 12th president of the Carnegie Corp. in New York.
1980: Saturn's moon Telesto is discovered
1986: Gorbachov talks about "perestroyka"
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:
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|2020 Daily Armenia Reports|
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