2021 August 25

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Daily news wrap-up

News - Aug/25/2021: Zangezur copper plant shareholder is trying to "hijack" majority shares __ New law seeks to make life easier for disabled residents __ Modern oncology equipment to make treatment safer __ Reservists summoned; weapon contract signed; latest border news __ Parliament fights __ econ
by ar_david_hh


Your 13-minute Wednesday recap in 3169 words.

There are 195,000 people with various types of disabilities. The new law aims to make their lives easier.

Things were unusually active today in Yerevan's Cultural Center for the Blind. People gathered from all provinces to play chess.

Blind residents complain about a lack of accommodations, especially in the education sector. Although there are specialists who can teach in Braille, blind kids cannot receive a quality education in regular schools, said Vahan. His university pals and family helped him navigate through the system.

Experts have found that none of Yerevan's universities are disability-friendly. They found several museums and roads that met the standards.

Andranik said it's difficult to figure out which bus is approaching while waiting at the bus stop. While waiting in the bank queue, he can't tell where "Window XYZ" is when the speaker asks him to approach.

Andranik said there has been some improvement in recent years. A new model was used in construction, with proper standards, to improve accessibility. There are more escalators and ramps, with fewer stairs. More streets have audio signals.

Overall, the capital is not disability-friendly yet, but there is hope that the recently approved disability bill will change things. The law was covered in May 5 and May 12 news posts. It went into effect in June and replaced the 1993 law.

Sipan Asatryan: before these reforms, the disability was based on the medical model. The person was considered as a sick person in need of care. After the reforms, the disability degree is measured by the international functionality system and will restore the person's ability to function in the environment, instead of confining them at home and treating with meds.

The new law allows disability protection groups to file lawsuits. Schools will no longer be able to reject children. Public and production facilities have 3 years to bring their conditions in line with requirements.

Meanwhile, the capital has imported 100 new buses with disability access, with another 211 on their way. They have low ramps, audio signals, and a digital board with audio.

The capital will soon install 63 more buttons for pedestrians to push before crossing the street. They will have audio. //

There are 195k disabled (6.6% of the population), 93k women, 16k blind.

https://factor.am/406119.html

a Zangezur copper factory shareholder wants to "take over" the plant

A shareholder had earlier asked the plant to conduct an official audit. The lawyer representing the "Zangezur Mining" shareholder says the plant's directors have not yet cooperated with the shareholder.

The shareholder is the former Russian Healthcare Minister Mikhail Zurabov, who owns 12.4% of shares.

Last year, the Zangezur plant purchased its shares back from investors called CRONIMET Mining and Makur Yerkat Factory. The plant itself became a 75% shareholder.

Another shareholder is AMP Holding with 12.5%, co-owned by former Syunik Vahe Hakobyan's family (currently an HD MP).

According to law, the 75% shareholder plant has no right to participate in the decision-making process. That means those who make decisions are the HD MP's family and the ex-Russian minister.

The Russian owner had earlier filed a lawsuit against the plant and fellow shareholders. He argues that the plant did not have the right to purchase back the shares, or own 75% of the shares, because allegedly the law gave the Russian shareholder the priority to purchase the shares.

The lawsuit seeks to require the shares to be sold to the Russian shareholder. The shares have been frozen by the court, pending trial.

On April 2, HD MP Vahe Hakobyan criticized the Russian shareholder's move as "illogical", while the government denied any involvement in this process, saying it's a dispute between shareholders.

https://www.civilnet.am/news/630607/բաժնետոմսերի-կռիվ՝-պղնձամոլիբդենային-կոմբինատում-միխայիլ-զուրաբովը-ցանկանում-է-տիրանալ-հանքին/ https://www.civilnet.am/news/590644/վահե-հակոբյանը-ալոգիկ-է-համարում-զանգեզուրի-պղնձամոլիբդենայինի-ռուս-բաժնետիրոջ-դատական-պահանջները/

the army began summoning reservists for 3-month retraining

MOD Karapetyan expressed satisfaction with the process, saying the public has acknowledged its importance.

https://factor.am/409033.html

latest border news

Azeri soldiers fired shots towards Artsakh bordering villages. The incident took place last night, near Shosh and Mkhitarashen villages. A resident's window was damaged. The HRO has called for Azeri troops to be withdrawn from the borders.

An Azeri MP from the ruling party complained about Russian peacekeepers allowing armed Armenian groups to remain in Artsakh; he called for military action for their forced removal. As a reminder, the November 9 trilateral statement did not require the removal of local Armenian defense forces.

Defense Ministry denied a report from Azeri MOD claiming that Armenian troops attacked an Azeri soldier and struck him with daggers.

https://factor.am/408994.html https://factor.am/409098.html https://factor.am/409106.html

Russia signed $2B worth weapons contracts with Army-2021 expo attendees

... including Armenia. The size and content of the contract with Armenia were not published.

https://factor.am/409100.html

DAY-2: Parliament was supposed to discuss the government's plan; things get physical again

[[2021 August 24|Read yesterday's news] about the plan, with other details here and here. Things became physical during yesterday's session when an HP MP was asked to leave the assembly room but refused to do so, with her colleagues attempting to convince security staff not to remove her. Things got heated again today. Here is how it started.

QP MP Hayk Sargsyan: the recent speeches by members of Kocharyan's and Serj's paries are laughable. They shift all the blame for the 2020 loss on the Pashinyan administration. Here is a refresher with some numbers we had the past 30 years:

In 1990 Armenia's population was 3.5M. In 2018, as a result of your rule, it was 2.9M. Meanwhile, the Azeri population went from 7M to 10M. We were buying 80s weapons while Azerbaijan was buying modern ones.

Aren't we supposed to discuss this in-depth to see how it happened? Armenia purchased a lot more weapons since Pashinyan came to office. You went abroad and negotiated to give away lands while back at home you labeled anyone who supported that idea as a "traitor", while singing patriotic songs and claiming our army was the strongest.

By 2018 we had twice fewer conscripts than we had 10 years ago. It's time to speak about these numbers. We avoided speaking about this until now because "vay, let's not reveal our problems in public so the enemy won't know". But as it turns out, the enemy knew very well.

You always speak about Artsakh villages. We had Artsakh villages where someone died and there was no one to dig a hole for burial because not a single man was left in the village [emigrated]. Why were we silent when our bordering settlements were being emptied? //

The MP urged his colleagues not to escalate things to physical violence in Parliament. He criticized HD MP Gegham Manukyan for writing a Facebook post in which he allegedly insulted 52% of the population who voted for Pasinyan. Manukyan responded from his seat. QP MPs join and responds to Manukyan. The Parliament president asked MPs to remain silent and let speaker QP Sargsyan continue.

QP Sargsyan continues: had the 2008 revolution succeeded and the army developed at the same rate since 2008, we would not have the same outcome in war. Any Defense Minister from any period, under whose watch soldiers were exempted from service through a "phone call" or "money", is a traitor. //

The former Defense Minister HD Seyran Ohanyan felt offended and shouted at the speaker from his seat, with the latter shouting back and saying "did I even mention your name?".

HD Seyran Ohanyan proceeded to throw a water bottle at speaker QP Sargsyan. The room went nuts, with QP MPs throwing their bottles in Seyran Ohanyan's direction. The security intervened. Parliament president QP Simonyan apologized to the public for the incident and declared a break.

Reporters waited outside the assembly room to meet MPs. An activist from a media outlet belonging to the former regime noticed a ruling party MP and shouted, "Seyran Ohanyan has achieved something unlike you."

HD Seyran Ohanyan: the ruling party MP's speech provoked the situation. I have no other comments. //

QP Edward Aghajanyan: Mr. Ohanyan set a bad precedence by throwing a bottle at an MP who was discussing the corruption in the military. It's unfortunate that the Parliament did not discuss important topics after Pashinyan's yesterday speech. Perhaps QP and HD/PU fractions come to this building for different reasons. Perhaps their goal is to restore the corrupt system so they can feed on it again, and to avoid responsibilities for past events by being more politically active today. That's why they tried to hijack power on November 9 with the use of gangs. //

Reporters noticed more ruling party MPs leaving the assembly room. One of them criticized the ruling party MP for referring to Seyran Ohanyan as "ara", who had moments earlier referred to the QP MP as "ay tgha".

HD Vahe Hakobyan: they are collecting the water bottles from the assembly room. When Pashinyan came yesterday and presented the government plan, he wanted to give the impression that everything is under his control. He did not succeed. I think it's the Premier who intentionally provokes things. I will give a speech in the assembly after the break. //

During his speech, HD Vahe Hakobyan claimed that Kocharyan-allied mayors, who are suspected of voter bribery and corruption, are "political prisoners". Several MPs from his party began speaking from their seats. President QP Simonyan asked MPs to remain silent, jokingly saying "do you want me to throw a water bottle so you'll remain silent?"

HD Vahe Hakobyan complained about the creation of the new Anti-Corruption Committee and the plans to split State Security Services (aka Secret Service) from NSS so it can report directly to Premier. He called the planned reforms "step towards dictatorship". He criticized Pashinyan for trying to "feed his 5-year plan to people".

A ruling QP MP responded from his seat saying "you will be fed with it, ara". HD Hakobyan responded back. Another shouting match began. The QP MP left his seat and began walking towards the HD Hakobyan. HD Hakobyan exited the speaking podium and began approaching the QP. The QP MP kicked Hakobyan when the two were face-to-face. A scuffle began between HD and QP MPs. The security personnel flooded the assembly room.

QP MP Hayk Sargsyan: I'd like to continue my speech about many years of bribery in the army to avoid conscription, to get a promotion. This is what led to the army's back being broken. Officers themselves say that unless you "know someone", you could not receive a promotion. The natural growth had stopped and people were no longer eager to serve in the army. Add to it the embezzlements in the army and the army funds being wasted in casinos. The people have already addressed this in June 20 elections. Syunik voted for us.

We don't often brag about which one of us and our sons fought in the 2020 war, and where. But we can, if necessary. We can also talk about who fled and left their positions. I see Facebook posts about "bringing back Shushi" by people who want to look "patriotic". Listen, those who did not take part in Shushi battles or fled, have no right to say "bring back Shushi".

Our mistake was hiding our army's problems for years, not speaking about the numerical and weapons shortage issues, not speaking about purchasing a $30M air defense unit that turned out to be dysfunctional. Whoever did that is the traitor. "Close the air, close the air", they said during the war. If that $30M air defense unit worked maybe we could. That's treason.

At 2:00 am on November 10 [the riot day], ARF Artsvik Minasyan and others organized in front of the ARF office before the government's building was broken into. There is video evidence. //

HD Gegham Manukyan (ARF): Pashinyan formed groups that are prepared for a street fight at any moment. Perhaps they seek revenge. They provoke. Those of us who are in Parliament today have such a record that these scuffles don't scare us. This fight was not a big deal. Forget about it. It's more about the rhetoric. This administration has discredited our army and heroes by routinely accusing them of corruption. That's what led to today's situation. //

QP MP Vagharshak Hakobyan: the opposition's monkey games won't deter the parliament from discussing the government's plan. We will finish it. I saw fake emotions by some MPs about the war. Wasn't it their friends who went to the front lines during the war and told our soldiers "Nikol has already sold the lands, there is no point in fighting, go home".

If we sum up the opposition's ideology in one sentence, it will be "the people cannot give a verdict". You're doing everything in your power to convince that nothing depends on the people. But it's too late, the people have already realized that everything depends on them.

You can't get over the fact that it's the people who decide everything and not a group that dresses in "elite" shops who recently found themselves in Parliament but drifted away from their mission. No worries, you will soon be reminded by us and the public what the Parliament's mission is. You won't succeed in delegitimizing the Parliament. //

HD MP was taken to the hospital for a medical examination after today's scuffle. Prosecutors said they will investigate the incidents.

Although the parliament sessions were live-streamed, reporters complained about not having access to the balcony in the assembly room, and having limited access to MPs. Parliament president QP MP Alen Simonyan called it unacceptable to remove the reporters from the assembly room and said he will discuss with other MPs to ensure reporters have access. Simonyan said there were complaints by some MPs about being filmed while they are being beaten or on the ground [the reporters were removed from the room after a physical fight ensued last time].

QP MP Khachatur Sukiasyan about 1990s, October 27, and casinos: to understand what happens now, we need to understand the 1990s. Towards the end of 90s, president LTP told us what our options were. LTP said that the international community had chosen a path for us. The superpowers were saying that the world won't forgive us for violating the UN-recognized borders.

In response, there was a coup in Armenia by various groups with different motives. They proceeded to nullify the entire political system and create the imitation that we had institutes.

I remember the head of NSS in the 2000s. A cannibal and plunderer. Today he meets several MPs in the evening for consultations on how they should confront [presumably the govt]. He paid $5M for buildings in Yerevan in the 2000s. You all know what happened next. The political power was hijacked by one person. Smaller forces would occasionally negotiate around certain issues.

You know very well why October 27 terror attack happened. It was to delay land concessions by Armenia. You know the reason behind the 2004 kerfuffle on Baghramyan Avenue. You know the 2016 police station hostage takeover. This was all about delaying signing the document.

Mr. [opposition MP] Gevorgyan, have you ever done business? How do you own $100M today? How do you own 57 properties in the Yerevan center? My whole family, with four brothers and parents, ran a business for a decade and weren't able to achieve that much. Are you smarter than us?

You know that Serj wasted over $100M in casinos, in the same Baden Baden mentioned by someone else here. HD Seyran Ohanyan knows this well: Serj Sargsyan returned to Armenia with one shoe bigger than the other, and with expensive "faberzhe". All at the expense of the army, healthcare, and education resources. //

🍿 Next episode tomorrow? 🍿

More: https://youtu.be/Y3Q6o-VwI2U?t=7 https://youtu.be/x1OHWeflzhI https://factor.am/408589.html https://youtu.be/3QVpCiS_aKM https://factor.am/408584.html https://youtu.be/m568IXwjMGg https://youtu.be/9rxstdoi8ok https://factor.am/408617.html https://factor.am/408673.html https://youtu.be/_PjnHKTBsLE https://factor.am/408673.html https://youtu.be/Jrx__sP6HCM https://factor.am/408689.html https://youtu.be/Ov5e1FL8C4g https://factor.am/408709.html https://factor.am/408719.html https://youtu.be/4rWlwFrDxo4 https://factor.am/408724.html https://youtu.be/jVD4Gwpdi8g https://factor.am/408748.html https://youtu.be/rNrbWS5JLvM https://factor.am/408752.html https://youtu.be/3ZRWP6yIzoE https://factor.am/408782.html https://factor.am/408822.html https://factor.am/408852.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061614.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061613.html https://youtu.be/haJ1Nc2E7-Y https://factor.am/408915.html https://youtu.be/mZ1SsLoSm04 https://youtu.be/mZ1SsLoSm04 https://factor.am/408915.html

anti-corruption: mayor of Kasakh (Kotayk) and other officials are charged with ֏41M embezzlement

Police reports: the mayor agreed with a resident to sell a 9600 m^2 land for $15 per m^2 (total $144,000). The mayor and other officials then conspired to embezzle part of the sum. They rigged the land auction process and forged documents to claim the land was sold for a lower price, so they could embezzle the remainder.

Another piece of land was illegally given to a municipality official who quickly resold it for a much higher price. //

https://youtu.be/ifT6pOTA45M

stats: economy in the first 7 months of 2021

economic growth +5.2%

Industrial output +2.1%

Construction +8.8%

Services +4.4%

Domestic trade +7.5%

Foreign trade +15.1%

Exports +23.2%

Imports +10.6%

Consumer prices +6.1%

http://arka.am/en/news/economy/armenia_s_economic_activity_in_first_seven_months_of_2021_grows_by_5_2_y_y/ http://arka.am/en/news/economy/consumer_prices_in_armenia_in_january_july_2021_grow_by_6_1_compared_to_same_period_in_2020_national/ http://arka.am/en/news/business/armenia_s_foreign_trade_up_15_1_in_seven_months_of_2021/

National Oncology Center has a modern intraoperative examination equipment

The newly imported technology, first in Armenia, will reduce post-surgery complications and boost surgery efficiency. A non-toxic contrast liquid is injected and recorded by an infrared sensor.

This helps detect the sentinel lymph nodes in the fight against cancer. Studying this lymph node allows doctors to reduce collateral damage to healthy ones.

The tech will make thyroid surgeries much safer by reducing damage to sensitive parts.

When it comes to plastic surgeries, it can be used to identify the level of blood supply in transplanted tissues.

The Oncology doctor said they will continue to import the latest tech to reduce the likelihood of patients developing disabilities. They have obtained 20 modern technologies since 2019.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061617.html

Red Cross and Education Ministry sign a memorandum

... to retrain teachers, especially in border areas, with basic psychological support skills.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061575.html

Education Ministry about resuming school in September:

Students will visit the school in person. That includes 37,000 first graders.

If we respect safety rules (masks, sanitation) established last year, we can reduce transmission. If the school implements all safety measures, they can apply with the Ministry or local Governor's office for permission to switch to regular classes instead of splitting classes (<20 students) or holding them in-person every other day.

The school will temporarily switch to remote learning if the 14-day infection rate is 10%.

Vaccination for teachers will be optional but encouraged.

More: https://youtu.be/xVe1fhvdPPE https://factor.am/408517.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061587.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061562.html

COVID stats

8516 tested. 634 infected. 10 deaths. 8209 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061580.html

VIDEO: Armenian singer is declared the winner of New Wave music competition

Saro Gevorgyan won the Novaya Volna 2021 international music event, after three days of competition.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061568.html

European chess champion Elina Danilyan returns home

She was greeted by the Education/Sports Ministry with flowers. Danielyan said her success was a result of daily work with the help of coach Zaven Andreasyan, and encouragement from fans.

Next month she will compete in the world championship as part of the women's group. "There is still gunpowder. We have to think about the title of world champion," said Deputy Minister Karen Giloyan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061602.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/pbjo67/news_aug252021_zangezur_copper_plant_shareholder/

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