2021 August 13

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

News - Aug/13/2021: Trial resumes; group accused of plans to down Serj's jet __ Azeri refugees become tourists __ Free tech classes for war vet. __ RU-AZ scandal __ Stepanakert needs water amid draught __ Language Committee swings the gavel __ Diasporan's wine business __ Univ. boards to be balanced
by ar_david_hh


Your 10-minute Friday recap in 2509 words.

the "Nork Armed Group" trial resumes / 20 men accused of organizing armed rebellion in 2015

In 2015, the NSS announced that they uncovered a 20-member armed group in the Nork-Marash district. The NSS accused the alleged ringleader Arthur Vardanyan and his men of planning to down Serj Sargsyan's jet in mid-air, and storming major government and court buildings.

Among the co-defendants are a former (1992-1999) deputy Defense Minister Vahan Shirkhanyan and the Gyumri Catholic Church priest Anton Tigran Totonjyan. The trial started in 2016.

Defendant Vahan Shirkhanyan suffered a stroke last night. His lawyers asked for today's session to be held behind closed doors to disclose medical information. Shirkhanyan said he is showing signs of recovery. He has maintained innocence and was released pre-trial on the grounds of poor health in 2018, after the revolution.

A few weeks ago, one of the defendants won a lawsuit against NSS and police for violating his presumption of innocence and showing him semi-naked in a video.

The trial continues.

https://youtu.be/cEMuwk8VFz4 https://factor.am/398348.html https://factor.am/404788.html https://youtu.be/26UZlQgrcNk https://factor.am/404871.html https://a1plus.am/en/article/188388 https://armenpress.am/eng/news/830188/nss-arrested-vahan-shirkhanyan-over-armed-gang%E2%80%99s-case.html

thousands of Artsakh war veterans join free tech classes

Education Ministry: the courses have already started as part of the university-private sector cooperation program, with 2.3k applicants. Those who pass the admission stage will receive free education in 16 technology fields.

The goal is to train 4.5k beginner and intermediate level professionals via online courses.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060655.html

Azeri refugees who fled Artsakh during the 1990s war will be charged a fee to return to native settlements as tourists

Azerbaijan's tourism committee announced plans to organize 3-hour trips to Akna (Aghdam) region. The priority will be given to those who formerly resided in those areas.

The news wasn't met with enthusiasm on social media. After decades of blaming Armenia for "one million refugees", Aliyev's "great return" promise has been apparently delayed.

Reporter Sahavat Mamed urged authorities "not to play with people's feelings like that. This is not a return to the homeland. This is a tourism campaign."

https://factor.am/404933.html

update: Russia bans entry for former Azeri diplomat who called Russians "pigs"

Read more about the scandal here. Russian politician Zhirinovsky had made not-so-kind remarks towards Ilham Aliyev and reminded about Azerbaijan's short history, followed by the ex-Azeri diplomat Vagabzadeh's outburst.

Vagabzadeh has been banned from entering Russia for 50 years for "inciting ethnic hatred". He responded saying he has no regrets for his words.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060657.html https://factor.am/405048.html

army denies opening fire at Azeri positions

Artsakh Defense Army: Azeri MOD circulated false information claiming that we opened fire at 2:30 am towards Azeri positions near Shushi, Sghnakh, and Yurakhi Veisal. It is obvious that with such false statements, the Azeri side is preparing the ground for further provocations. We strictly observe the ceasefire and retaliate only if there are provocations.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060677.html

Artsakh Foreign Minister: Azerbaijan's attempts to empty Artsakh have failed

MFA Davit Babayan: it doesn't matter what types of weapons they've been lately using on Artsakh borders. The goal is not military in nature, but rather psychological and geopolitical.

Their goal is to empty Artsakh to create a new situation in the South Caucasus, Middle East, and Central Asia.

The use of weapons is meant to apply psychological pressure on Artsakh civilians, to discourage them. But these attempts have failed. Living in Artsakh has already become a mission.

We need to be calm about all this and continue with our daily work. That's why we need a comprehensive unified approach with the right domestic and geopolitical policies. The problems are many but the solutions are quite realizable.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060706.html

the 2nd Army Corps held tank exercises in difficult tactical conditions

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/294972/

hundreds of Russian peacekeepers donated 40 liters of blood for Artsakh's rural population

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/294979/

Language Committee is satisfied with the wording modifications on new police patrol cars

The newly reformed police patrol service came equipped with modern vehicles with plenty of English words to make it convenient for tourists. The national Language Committee complained that Armenian words were de-prioritized.

Today they announced that the police have agreed to make Armenian words bigger on all orders of the vehicle.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060680.html

Language Committee wants you to boycott restaurants that don't offer a menu in Armenian language

The Committee has filed 63 lawsuits this year relating to language violations. Some food facilities only have foreign-language menus, apparenty. There can be multiple languages so everyone can understand what's written, recommend the Committee chief.

Another common violation is using entrance signs exclusively in a foreign language.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060689.html https://youtu.be/7BaO9Yp3Ij0 https://youtu.be/OwMj8mFvme8

begun, the language wars have

Language Committee does not want you to write Armenian sentences in Latin letters. Not only can you find yourself banned from /r/Armenia, but also Armenia (sarcasm).

Committee chief Gyurijanyan: things have lately gotten significantly better. Some Facebook groups began banning transliteration. People are urging others not to do it. Translit is disrespectful towards our language.

We launched administrative proceedings against a company [presumably a bank] for sending translit letters to citizens. If we win the lawsuit, it will be a great precedent. Some banks justify the use of translit, claiming that some customers have old phones that do not support Armenian letters. That's not an excuse because some Armenians might not understand what's written in the messages. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060696.html

new appointments and dismissals

Jirayr Poghosyan will no longer lead the 1st Army Corps.

Karen Brutyan is now a deputy Defense Minister. He has served as a deputy Finance Minister since 2018. [what did Nikol mean by this? 🤔]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060714.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060731.html

helping diasporan refugees and women with winemaking

Germany is financing multiple programs to help diasporan refugees who moved to Armenia, and the local vulnerable population. The main beneficiaries are Syrian-Armenians and local women. The goal is to help them launch businesses in the winemaking field.

Six companies have already been founded. One of them belongs to Sargis Yazdjian, a 59yo Syrian-born electrician who moved to Armenia during the Syrian civil war.

Sargis Yazdjian: one should always live with hope regardless of age. When we came to Armenia, we purchased six hectares of land with four friends. We planted vegetables but later decided to switch to grape for cognac and vodka production.

Three of my friends have since left Armenia so I was forced to sell the land. Last year I learned about the [German] GIZ program that provides accelerated courses for winemaking, so I decided to return to land work and try again.

The tutors were young but very knowledgeable. The trips to the wineries were very informative. It allowed me to produce my own dry white wine... Unlike the red, you cannot keep it for more than a year.

The first bottle was a gift to my wife [you passed the Friday night test]. It was named Lusnak, after her. [...and the Saturday and Sunday]

The first 500 bottles will enter the market soon. The collected revenues will allow me to produce 800 more. The goal is to increase production by 400 bottles per year. [sounds like an MMM to me]

https://www.civilnet.am/news/629369/գինէ՝-սիրիահայերի-և-տեղացի-կանանց-գինեպատումներ․-սարգիս-յազդջեան/

SUMMEET: international contemporary dance festival will be held in Armenia for the first time

Dance studios from Armenia and Russia worked with the Education Ministry to organize a festival in the Opera Hall. SUMMEET festival includes all the manifestations of modern dance by choreographers from around the world.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060658.html

documentary about storks that find themselves covered in pollutants after diving to eat fish that is improperly dumped in landfills

The Nature Ministry and environmentalists plan to install cameras on stonks to better understand where the problem comes from.

https://youtu.be/gqzYaF7P3hM https://www.civilnet.am/news/629465/արագիլները՝-աղտոտված-պատասխանատուները՝-չբացահայտված/

mass poisoning from cistern water in Khanjyan (Armavir)

Nine people were hospitalized last night with signs of intestinal infection. The experts took water samples for lab examination, while the prosecutors launched a standard felony investigation.

The investigation has revealed that everyone had purchased water from a mobile cistern on Monday.

The Healthcare Ministry has reached out to local neighborhoods and found 31 others with similar symptoms. Five of them were hospitalized. The residents have been urged to dump the rest of the water.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060645.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060708.html https://youtu.be/PzyTqL2gejo

forest guard faces criminal negligence charges over 257 illegally-cut trees

Prosecutors: earlier we announced that someone cut hundreds of trees in Dsegh Forest. We finished the investigation and decided to press criminal charges against the forest guard for negligence that led to the ֏19M in damages.

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/294978/

Lufthansa makes the first flight to Armenia

Read yesterday's news for context. The jet flew from Frankfurt to Zvartnots airport last night. Officials went to mark the "return" ceremony.

Lufthansa plans to make 16 weekly flights to 280 directions in 100 countries in the summer months. They are working with Armenia to promote tourism between Germany and Armenia.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060651.html

government backtracks: university management councils will be more equally represented

The government complained that 32-member university governing councils are too large, too inefficient, and if the university receives public funding, then the Education Ministry should have more decision-making powers.

The result was a legal amendment that reduced the size of governing councils from 32 to 20, with 11 being appointed by the Education Ministry and the rest by various groups.

The Constitutional Court later struck down the amendment and asked legislators to rewrite it.

Today the Education Ministry proposed reforms to make the 20-member council equally represented by several groups. Instead of having 50%+1, the Education Ministry will have 25% seats, similar to student groups, professor staff, and the founding body.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060713.html

COVID stats

6055 tested. 397 infected. 264 healed. 9 deaths. 5805 active.

Georgia did 30k antibody and 21k PRC tests and found 5.4k infections. Over 40k people are being treated at home right now, with another 3.4k in COVID-hospitals. Dozens of businesses were fined for ignoring safety requirements. The fine is $650 for individuals and $3.3k for businesses.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060656.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060675.html

Iran's supreme leader urges officials to acquire vaccines 'any way possible'

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2021/08/irans-supreme-leader-urges-officials-acquire-vaccines-any-way-possible

Taliban bans vaccines in a provincial hospital in Afghanistan

I'm getting Robocop (1987) intro vibes while scrolling through these news.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060721.html

Stepanakert begins using trucks to deliver drinking water amid an unprecedented shortage

As we learned recently, Stepanakert's unprecedented large population (60k local + 15k IDPs) and the recent heatwave have resulted in 30% of the capital being left without water. No rainfall has been observed in the past 40 days, with temperatures remaining above 30c in recent the month.

The govt is working with the water utility company to deliver water with trucks to the affected districts. They tapped into two Soviet-era artesian water wells. They are working to uncover and use more.

Askeran municipality is asking residents to donate 5-liter water bottles so they can deliver fresh water to the capital. "This is a great opportunity to show our love, care, and devotion to our compatriots. Let's take care of each other."

The authorities ruled out the possibility that Azerbaijan is causing this water shortage.

Deputy mayor: draught is the main reason. The capital receives the water from Meghraget, Hraget, and Vararak rivers. One of them has completely dried out, while the two have a minimal stream.

We're discovering and building new artesian water wells to address the shortage. The underground water reserves have also been reduced.

Azerbaijan has nothing to do with it this time. Yes, a few months ago we had a problem with cleaning the reservoirs because the water was in the neutral zone, but we resolved that issue through negotiations. This time the main problem is the heat. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060676.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060694.html https://www.facebook.com/askeran19999/posts/592682241901137

Armenia sends 17 wrestlers to participate in World Youth Wrestling Championship

It's held in Ufa, Russia this year, between Aug. 16-22.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060648.html

Women's European Chess Championship

Elina Danielyan and Anna Sargsyan are trailing the leader by 0.5 points. 3.5/4.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060649.html

new schools and kindergartens are being built

Construction works began in Jrarat, Akhuryan (Shirak) to build a kindergarten. The ֏46M project is co-funded by local and federal authorities.

The construction of the main school has begun in Lernahovit (Gegharkunik). Expected to finish by 2023. They recently bulldozed the old facility. The new one will have a sports center, festival hall, buffet, "and all the conditions specific to a modern school". [but will it have Japanese-style toilets?]

The kindergarten is being renovated in Artsvanist (Gegharkunik). It suspended operations in 2016 because of poor conditions. The renovations began last year as part of a federal subsidy program.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060642.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060672.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060685.html

Yerevan delays the construction of a new gymnastics training center

Last year mayor Marutyan decided that renovating the Albert Azaryan sports center is impossible because of seismic resilience problems, so they decided to build a new center instead.

Today they decided to delay the construction to prioritize the resources for other post-pandemic and post-war programs. The new training school will have "international standards".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060699.html

mini-interview with Arthur Davtyan, the gymnast who won bronze in Olympics

https://youtu.be/HL4MN1aTWWk

new lighting network will be built in several villages of Shoghakat (Gegharkunik)

133 LED light poles will be installed on eight streets. This will result in Shoghakat being fully illuminated, while the surrounding villages at 60%.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060686.html

Gyumri-Kaps-Amasia section of M-1 road is being rebuilt

It travels through Amasia, Bandivan, and Tsoghamarg settlements of Shirak province. The road will have a water removal network, safety barriers, etc.

6 bridges will be repaired in this area.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060703.html

solar panels will be installed on three kindergartens in Martuni (Gegharkunik)

... with 66,000 kWh annual production, which is 3.8x more than what they consume. It's part of a federal subsidy program.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060669.html

Lake Sevan public beaches are being modified for disability access

The new pier-like ramps will allow people in a wheelchair to enter the lake.

PHOTOS: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060701.html

10 hectares of grass has burned near Syunik's Grass village

I know you're not supposed to translate village names but I could not resist.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060723.html

Armenia had offered to help Greece with wildfires

... but Greece thanked for the offer and said it's "not necessary for now" because the fires are shrinking. Armenia is ready to offer help again.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060682.html

Azerbaijan still unable to isolate mountainous forest fires in Gabala district

It broke out on Wednesday in the northern part of the country. The second firefighter helicopter was dispatched.

https://factor.am/405009.html

floods in northern Turkey kill at least 31

The Kastamonu province near the Black Sea is prone to floods. Around 300 settlements are left without electricity.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060726.html

surprise research: metabolism quickly slows until you turn 20, stays the SAME until 60, gradually slows beyond 60

A person in their 90s needs 26% fewer calories each day than someone in midlife.

https://today.duke.edu/2021/08/metabolism-changes-age-just-not-when-you-might-think https://science.sciencemag.org/content/373/6556/808

top-10 bestseller translated books in July

10) Հայրս՝ այդ հսկան, by Charles Aznavour

5) Mrs Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf

4) Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse

3) Զուլալի, by Narine Abgaryan

2) Եվ ոչ ոք չմնաց..., by Agatha Christie

1) Երկնքից երեք խնձոր ընկավ, by Narine Abgaryan

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1060482.html

end of report

The accused are innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law, even if they "appear" guilty.

News archive: http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Daily_Anti-Corruption_Reports

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Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/p3ttdn/news_aug132021_trial_resumes_group_accused_of/

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