2021 August 19

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Daily news wrap-up

News -Aug/19/2021: Major army reforms; 2yr army conscription to shorten; new doctrine & automated mgmt.; mobile subdivisions that can act independently; mobilization & command __ Azeri troops withdraw in Artsakh __ Moscow doesn't need Baku's permission __ New childcare bonus __ Western Armenian lang
by ar_david_hh


Your 10-minute Thursday recap in 2665 words.

update: families to receive new monthly aid & work accommodations for each newborn child

Yesterday, Pashinyan revealed the government's 5-year plan, which envisions new programs to boost demographics. While full details will become available later, here are the main areas of expansion:

1) The family will receive $100/mo for 3rd and each subsequent child until they turn 6.

2) Recently they increased monthly childcare subsidies for children under the age of 2, but there were restrictions. Under the new reforms, more families will qualify for this aid, including unemployed mothers regardless of their location (the primary target used to be rural areas).

3) New accommodations to help parents with childcare while they are away for work.

4) Helping rural young families with children to start a business.

5) Aid for diasporan families who move to Armenia.

Minister said: The first one about $100/mo aid will go into effect beginning in January 2022. After a steady decline in birthrate since 2014, the trend was reversed in 2020, and already in H1 2021 the absolute number of births increased by 1.4K or 9%. Maintaining this growth could have a tangible impact on Armenia's demographic picture. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061219.html https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/p6yt4c/news_aug182021_pashinyans_plan_big_railway

personal conflict between conscripts leads to three deaths, suspect arrested

The army denied Thursday's deaths being a result of Azeri attack. An investigation was launched to learn details about the conflict that lead to the incident.

Hours later, investigators named a fellow conscript as the suspect and arrested him. A felony case is launched.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061141.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061147.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061180.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061218.html

Artsakh Defense Army will remain stationed in Artsakh

... announced the government of Armenia in its 5-year plan. The goal is the final resolution of the Artsakh conflict with the help of OSCE, based on known principles, including people's right to self-determination.

Government: the post-war reconstruction, activation of economic life, solving social issues, and preserving cultural heritage, will be at the center of our attention. No effort will be spared to create dignified and prosperous living conditions in Artsakh. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061189.html

update: Azerbaijan withdraws its troops ~3km in southwest Artsakh

As we learned on Tuesday, Russian peacekeepers convinced Armenian troops to withdraw near Yeghtsahogh village so Russians could take over. In exchange, Azeris were supposed to withdraw 3 kilometers. Armenians were asked to make the first move. They did.

Today Azeri withdrew their troops, too. The hill is known as "Saribab". It'll be guarded exclusively by peacekeepers now.

Artsakh authorities announced that the Russians will guard the area round-the-clock, and not only during part of the day, as it was rumored earlier.

https://www.lragir.am/2021/08/19/662478/ https://www.lragir.am/2021/08/17/662038/

Army Reforms: shorter military service, new army management to make decisions quicker, new military doctrine, mobile subdivisions with ability to act independently for lengthy periods, and more

Security Councilman Grigoryan had revealed in one of his recent interviews that as part of the creation of a professional contractor army, they could practically reduce the conscription from 2 to 1.5 years. More details have been revealed as part of the government's 5-year plan.

The military will gradually switch to a professional army, with significant changes to mandatory conscription and military service structure.

Government report: Taking into account the prospects for the development and improvement of military service, we will aim to reduce the conscription term and grow the contractor service instead. By doing this, we will stimulate both material and moral-psychological mechanisms of military service.

The effectiveness of the armed forces management system will improve. There will be legal amendments to clarify and improve the organization of defense [reservists] and powers/responsibilities of military security bodies [conflict between CoGS and MOD].

Armenia's national security strategy will be reviewed and a new Military Doctrine will be drafted, with a new State Defense Plan. The tools and procedures for preparing the country for defense will be improved.

To improve army management efficiency and reduce the time it takes to make decisions, a new unified automated management system will be implemented. To make this happen, organizational and staff changes will be carried out in management and military units. We will form high-mobility and high-power units capable of conducting long-term independent combat operations.

We will continue to purchase armament and modernize the military equipment with the acquisition of new samples, in cooperation with our ally and partner states. Special attention will be paid to military cooperation with Russia.

We will continue to improve mechanisms to prepare and conduct mobilization. We will implement the ashkharazor army, active reservist, and regional defense programs. Technologies will be used to help troops guard the borders.

Soldiers and their families will receive more benefits to make military service more attractive and increase the prestige of the servicemen. This includes wages, housing aid, etc. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061160.html

Tags: #ArmyReforms

Russia says it will deliver weapons to Armenia, in mini-rebuke to Azerbaijan

Ilham Aliyev recently complained and said he was "worried" about the delivery of weapons to Armenia, after Armenian MOD's recent visit to Moscow to sign a deal, and the recent army reform announcement by the Armenian government. Aliyev said he expects Russia not to supply weapons to Armenia.

Russian MFA spokeswoman Zakharova responds: we have relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan. Russia believes it is necessary to maintain a balance of power in the region. It is Russia's sovereign right to supply weapons to Armenia. We urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to exchange all POWs and landmine maps ASAP. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061209.html

Pashinyan made new appointments

Former Parliament president Ararat Mirzoyan will be the [permanent] Foreign Minister. He will replace Armen Grigoryan, who was the acting MFA. The latter will return as the chief of the Security Council.

Avag Avanesyan will become a deputy Finance Minister. He was a deputy Economy Minister.

Edward Petrosyan will lead the unified social services.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061139.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061142.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061144.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061145.html

Putin briefed Macron about the progress in the implementation of Nov 9 and Jan 11 statements

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061220.html

families of missing soldiers met NSS chief

The families gathered in front of the NSS office with hopes to learn new information about the search and repatriation process. NSS hosted the families and said it will investigate new information gathered by families themselves.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061182.html

Pashinyan visits Kyrgyzstan for an EAEU bloc meeting

ARM and KGZ will try to activate cooperation in trade, energy, water, and digitization fields.

EAEU leaders held a roundtable meeting before tomorrow's bigger session with an enlarged delegation. Pashinyan will give a boring speech tomorrow.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061166.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061171.html https://factor.am/406780.html

there is no need for CSTO bloc to intervene in Afghanistan, said Russia

Some of its members have borders with Afghanistan.

https://factor.am/406707.html

U.S. DoD's Defense Threat Reduction Agency is working with Armenia's Emergency Ministry

... as part of a program to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In turn, the Emergency Ministry organized training courses for NSS's border protection troops today.

https://factor.am/406835.html

California's CalPERS will restrict its investments in Turkey

CA Senators Portantino and Scott Wilk announced that California Public Employee Retirement System will reduce its holdings in Turkey.

CA Sen. Portantino: CalPERS took historic action by restricting holdings in Turkey. Grateful to the community for their tireless efforts/tenacity to push forward on #ivestment + to CalPERS Board for responding to our collective plea. //

Regional Dashnak representatives welcomed the "courageous and principled" decision, saying their office has been working on it for a while.

California's teacher fund CalSTRS had made a similar decision two months earlier. That's what started the "chain reaction".

https://twitter.com/Portantino/status/1428106736863367168 https://sd25.senate.ca.gov/news/2021-08-18/senators-portantino-and-wilk-hail-calpers-historic-action-restrict-investments https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061195.html

US State Department unhappy with Turkish operation in Iraq, after reports of an attack on Yezidi hospital

There were dozens of civilian deaths after the attack on a hospital in Sikeniye. Turkish jets then targeted those who rushed to help the victims. [known playbook]

US State Department: We are aware of the press reports concerning the Turkish operations in northern Iraq. We reaffirm our view that military action in Iraq should respect Iraqi sovereignty. //

https://twitter.com/StateDept_NEA/status/1428064611417444352?s=19 https://factor.am/406801.html https://ahvalnews.com/turkish-offensive/turkish-fighter-jets-bombing-hospital-sinjar-northern-iraq-report

Erdogan's popularity is dropping

Would you vote for Erdogan? 33% yes, 55% never.

His most popular opponent was Ankara mayor Mansur Yavash (who would receive 52.8%), followed by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and the Istanbul mayor.

The primary causes for his dropping popularity are economic issues, high inflation, and unemployment.

How is the Turkish economy being managed? 58% bad, 23% good.

Will the opposition manage the economy better? 42% yes.

Yöneylem survey among 3040 residents.

https://factor.am/406793.html

Artsakh residents will receive business skills and financing

The governments of Artsakh and Armenia, with the help of two universities, will organize weeklong tutoring in Artsakh to help locals with "social entrepreneurship as a new business model". The best business plans will receive financing and assistance from experts.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061162.html

AURORA Foundation opens an office in Stepanakert, Artsakh

The humanitarian organization will expand its "Aurora for Artsakh" program. The direct presence is expected to help the program's efficiency and to strengthen Artsakh's positions in the international arena, said AURORA.

AURORA provided millions of dollars worth of emergency humanitarian aid to residents immediately after the war. Today, most of the resources are aimed at securing long-term development. Dozens of local and international partners (e.g. Doctors without borders) have joined their activities.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061192.html

government plans to give a special status to Western Armenian language

They are discussing changes as part of the 5-year plan. The latter has a special section for Diaspora relations, which mentions the preservation of Western Armenian, and its inclusion in schools and the higher education system.

This is a new addition that wasn't present in Pashinyan's previous plan presented in 2019. In current general, the law does not differentiate Eastern and Western Armenian languages and uses the broader term "Armenian".

Serj Sargsyan had previously mentioned the promotion of Western Armenian, too, but no significant legal changes were made.

Details about the latest proposal will be known later.

https://www.civilnet.am/news/630069/կառավարությունը-ծրագրում-է-արևմտահայերենին-հատուկ-կարգավիճակ-տալ/

new housing construction program to help 1988 quake survivors in Gyumri

Gyumri municipality signed an agreement with ARQ Foundation today to help residents who still live in "tnak". Gyumri will give the foundation a free space and adjacent infrastructure in Ani District for apartment construction.

The Foundation will finance the apartment construction. The families will receive 50% of the investments as a donation, while the other 50% will be repaid to the Foundation within 10 years. The collected sum will be used to build more housing for other tnak residents.

The apartment buildings will be 4-story, with ~4 apartments on each floor. 18 apartments for now. They will come polished and with kitchen appliances.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061179.html

Qyart Alert 🔪 : former Gyumri mayor Vardan Ghukasyan's son is also in legal trouble, but for a different reason

Ex-mayor Ghukasyan, who is facing 38 felony counts of land embezzlement, has a son named Spartak.

A woman called the police on Tuesday night and reported that the ex-mayor, along with his son Spartak and 4 other man, had entered her backyard to "settle a dispute" with her grandson.

The police later visited the ex-mayor's house to gather information but his son Spartak refused to open the door. Hours later, Spartak called a ranking police official in Gyumri and allegedly threatened him with physical retaliation.

Spartak was arrested and charged under Article 316.1 (physical threats against a public official relating to their duties).

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061221.html https://www.arlis.am/documentview.aspx?docid=69646

authorities launch manhunt for a gang lead by "vor v zakone" (thieve-in-law)

Investigators report: in accordance with the rules of conduct established by the criminal subculture code, a criminal authority with the highest-ranking (vor) decided to assist an Iranian national to collect fees owed by a Yerevan resident.

The group used a vehicle to kidnap the debtor from Yerevan's David Anhaght St. on January 18, after luring him inside. They took the victim to a private residence and assaulted him, before releasing him back under the threat of murder if he doesn't pay $10,000. The victim paid the sum a few days later.

The thief-in-law and his associates are charged with seven felony counts and placed on the wanted list. // [rumors say they were hired by Arizona bondsmen for a կլորիկ գումար]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061146.html

police found automatic weapons and grenades during last evening's enhanced patrolling operation in Yerevan

They also found stolen license plates. Oh, and someone parked their ATV illegally in Northen Avenue.

https://youtu.be/KtgPQt42zi4

Watermelon drama 🍿: Food Safety agency monitors levels of pesticides, heavy metals, and nitrates in crops

Someone on Facebook ⚠ claimed to have used a "meter" ⚠⚠ to measure nitrates in watermelon, and that it allegedly ⚠⚠⚠ exceeded the norm by 4x.

Inspectors respond: we routinely monitor fruits & veggies, including watermelons, during the harvest at the places of their cultivation.

Checking the nitrates requires a professional lab examination. You should not use a no-name "meter" purchased from a random shop because they are widely inaccurate. In the case of imported food, the samples are taken at the customs facility.

So far we haven't detected irregularities with the imported food. The lab examination of local food is still underway.

We don't know what measuring device the Facebook user used and where they got it from. A lab exam is the only accurate tool. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061183.html

child adoption laws will be reformed to increase protections, ensure families can handle the child, etc.

Armenia is working with UNICEF and USAID to improve child safety by amending adoption laws. The bill is expected to be introduced this Autumn.

For example, a new expert group will assess a child's health before the adoption; the family that wants to adopt the child will be examined to ensure they are capable of handling the child; families who are deemed as "somewhat" unprepared will receive assistance to qualify and proceed with the adoption; steps to reduce instances of an adopted child being returned; you can adopt a child even if you don't own property as long as you have a permanent address and it meets the living standards; you cannot adopt if you have a felony record relating to harming someone's health; adoption is terminated if a felony case is launched against the person during the adoption screening period; one of the parents must be between the ages of 18-50; a biological parent who cannot take care of the child and gives up the parenting rights will be given a 6-month "thinking" period before the child can be given away for adoption.

Full: https://youtu.be/M5WbSWUe3kA https://factor.am/406611.html https://factor.am/406638.html https://factor.am/406649.html

COVID stats

7514 tested. 559 infected. 216 healed. 11 deaths. 6923 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061151.html

police have resumed the enforcement of mask mandate in public transport

Hundreds of vehicles were stopped and searched in Yerevan today. A few people received warnings and citations.

https://factor.am/406875.html

got any more of them vaccines?

Healthcare Minister Avanesyan called her Russian counterpart to discuss the possibility of importing another batch of Sputnik-5 vaccines. Russia is struggling with its manufacturing.

https://factor.am/406786.html

11 roads were renovated in Nerkin Getashen (Gegharkunik)

... as part of a ֏250M investment program co-funded by the federal and local authorities.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061204.html

Gandzak (Gegharkunik) will have a new deep water well

It'll help 300 households and irrigate 40 hectares of farmland. They've been diggin' it for months. Maybe it's just an experiment to see if they can reach Los Angeles with a shorter route.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061225.html

Women's European Chess tournament

Elina Danielyan continues to trail the leader, representing Ukraine, by only 0.5 points. Today she played a draw against the leader.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061153.html

BREAKING: Elina Danielyan defeated the Georgian opponent while playing with blacks and currently shares the 1st place

One round is left.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061228.html

Men's European Chess tournament

... will begin in Reykjavik next Thursday. Armenia will have five players.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061157.html

young Armenian wrestlers win two medals in World Championship

125kg Lyova Gevorgyan defeated the Azeri opponent 10:0 and advanced to the final, but finished with Silver.

57kg Manvel Khndzrtsyan won Bronze.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061185.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

Donations: soldiers' families, humanitarian aid, US tax-deductible donation.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/p7m8tk/news_aug192021_major_army_reforms_2yr_army/

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