2021 February 12
- 1 Daily news wrap-up
- 2 anti-corruption: Labor Ministry official busted w/housing fraud
- 3 Vazgen Manukyan holds a rally in Freedom Square
- 4 Vazgen Manukyan calls for formation of "backyard groups" to follow and harass opponents
- 5 HHK about snap elections and PM's resignation / movement v2.0
- 6 re: NSS requires permission before visiting borders
- 7 shepherd's cattle causes a border dispute incident / animals returned
- 8 Armenia-Russia-Azerbaijan hold a meeting / regional transport & security
- 9 the agreement about using Russian troops to guard Syunik borders
- 10 BIG: Artsakh president meets an Azeri official to hold negotiations
- 11 Swedish MPs urge Azerbaijan to release POWs
- 12 search operations
- 13 rumors & rebuttals: Garegin Nzhdeh bust (details)
- 14 Armenian-Jewish genocide monument is defaced
- 15 Netflix movie about the Armenian startup ecosystem
- 16 the Engineering City construction enters an active phase
- 17 Ukraine is interested in high-tech cooperation
- 18 private information protection / COVID patient list
- 19 police brutality & accountability / 3 cops charged
- 20 the elephant in the room
- 21 stuck in the airport
- 22 Parliamentary COVID Investigative Commission
- 23 COVID stats
- 24 real estate market vs 2020's COVID & war
- 25 product prices in Artsakh / January YoY
- 26 Artsakh's cattle population dropped 40% because of war
- 27 tax waivers in Artsakh's trade sector
- 28 CWR nature camera captures three lynx walking in the snow
- 29 Yerevan budget expenditures / public transportation / new buses
- 30 British firm designed a new public bus network for Yerevan
- 31 who will "own" the transport routes in Yerevan?
- 32 trolley-bus makes a "comback" / Yerevan to extend a route
- 33 top-5 bestseller Armenian literature books in January
- 34 Mikael Mikaelyan scores the best skiing record in Armenian history
- 35 meet Isaac the dog, who is here to sniff your bag
- 36 today in history
- 37 All-Armenia charity Fund has donated new bronchoscopes (lung scanners)
- 38 donations to Artsakh & recovering soldiers
- 39 archive of older news
- 40 disclaimer
- 41 Support David's Daily Armenia News Summaries!
Daily news wrap-up
Feb/12/2021: (1) Artsakh president holds direct negotiations with Azeri official (2) Vazgen is making a "list". Not safe on streets (3) Syunik borders: shepherd & Azeris, road security agreement (4) AM-RU-AZ meeting (5) Netflix movie about Armenian startups (6) Engineering City (7) Transport! (8)...
Your 12-minute Friday report in 3091 words.
anti-corruption: Labor Ministry official busted w/housing fraud
Investigators: Labor Ministry signed a housing-related purchase contract with a firm in 2019. The firm delivered damaged and inhabitable houses, but a Ministry official falsified the documents to finalize the deal, claiming everything met the standards.
The Ministry's Chief Specialist of the Procurement and Economic Affairs Department has been charged with 2 felony counts. Two other officials were arrested months later.
Vazgen Manukyan holds a rally in Freedom Square
The opposition [specifically former regime] PM candidate Vazgen Manukyan held a small gathering in front of Opera to discuss their future plans. "Today is not the main rally by the coalition. The big one is on February 20th. Today's meeting is my personal gathering." BHK confirmed that they weren't in it.
Manukyan said, "A rebellion is a milder option than keeping Pashinyan in power. I encourage any rebellion, as long as it gets rid of the govt without taking physical measures against individuals."
The main theme is the same: Pashinyan's resignation. He said he doesn't support the November 9th agreement but that doesn't mean he will repeal it if elected.
Vazgen Manukyan calls for formation of "backyard groups" to follow and harass opponents
"We need to cut the government's legs, their leverage. The real leverage is the My Step (QP) faction in Parliament. We need to work on every member. They should not risk walking to the streets because they are promoting betrayal. Consider those My Step MPs, who do not quit the faction, as a traitor.
We claim that the police are ours. Are they? Have you seen how the police were destroying protesters? Every high-ranking policeman who serves Pashinyan is a traitor.
The people should not allow them to walk on the streets. They should be afraid of walking on the streets. They should be afraid of entering a cafe or restaurant.
We will publish their names. They don't have the right to walk on the streets," said opposition leader Vazgen Manukyan.
His message about forming "backyard groups" was met with condemnation by the mayor of Armavir: "Վազգեն Մանուկյանին ասեք խելք հավաքի: Հայաստանում ոչ մի ջոկատ չի կազմվի ներհայաստանյան ինչ-որ հարցեր լուծելու համար, Հայստաանում բարիկադներ չեն կառուցվի, եթե էդ տարիքում գոնե սա չի հասկացել, ուրեմն հեչ լավ չի:"
Tags: #VazgenManukyan #Lists #ReeducationCamps
HHK about snap elections and PM's resignation / movement v2.0
HHK spokesman Shawarmazanov reaffirmed their stance that their demand is not a snap election but rather Pashinyan's resignation, creation of a temporary government [headed by Vazgen Manukyan], and new elections a year afterward.
He compared the opposition's ongoing movement with the 1980s Karabakh movement and called it Artsakh Movement v2.0. "This is a bipartisan struggle. There needs to be a widespread revolt."
"Serj Sargsyan will speak very soon."
re: NSS requires permission before visiting borders
A group of reporters raised complaints about NSS's border restrictions. NSS said it's needed for security and avoiding incidents.
Opposition BHK MP said, "They are trying to prevent journalists from covering the situation."
QP MP Sisak had another opinion, "A border visit is not banned. It just requires prior notification."
shepherd's cattle causes a border dispute incident / animals returned
Khndozresk resident's 185 [presumably sheep] reached the border while eating grass. The Azeri soldiers approached the shepherd to talk about it. They took away 173 sheep. Later, the Armenian border guards met the Azeris and held negotiations. All 173 sheep were returned.
Tags: #shepherd #BorderCattle
Armenia-Russia-Azerbaijan hold a meeting / regional transport & security
Deputy-leaders of AM-RU-AZ held a now-routine trilateral meeting to discuss the progress around the November 9th and January 11th statements.
the agreement about using Russian troops to guard Syunik borders
The government has announced on numerous occasions about an agreement to install Russian guards on Syunik borders and to regulate several segments of Kapan-Davit Bek road that became de-facto borders. Russian troops were installed between Armenian and Azeri border guards, who are often standing within a hundred meters of each other. The two sides are located on opposite sides of the road.
Recently, a former regime official claimed that this information was kept secret. A document was published, allegedly showing details of an agreement, with locations on where to install the Russian guards and other positions. The document was shared by the Russian border guards, according to the source.
Today, LHK asked the government to publish the full details of the agreement, to check if it's legal. "The published document is essentially the paper-form of the border changes that we have witnessed on Syunik borders," said LHK Marukyan. "Isn't it better if the government itself publishes its details?"
QP MPs responded, "It is this arrangement that allows the road to remain operational. It has not been shut down by Azeris for a single second."
(Context: Artsakh's Qashatagh region went under Azeri control. It borders Armenia's Syunik province, where several houses in Shurnukh and Vorotan villages went on the Azeri side. A road in Syunik became de-facto the border, prompting the need for Russian mediation. An agreement was reached on where to install the positions.)
BIG: Artsakh president meets an Azeri official to hold negotiations
President Arayik Harutyunyan, NSS chief Armen Abazyan, and Russian peacekeeper chief Rustam Muradov visited a site protected by Russian troops and met an Azeri government representative.
They discussed the POW swap, search operations, and humanitarian topics. The discussion included people who went missing during the 1990s war.
Swedish MPs urge Azerbaijan to release POWs
Three MPs released a joint statement saying Azerbaijan is politicizing the humanitarian issue, including the UN's entry rights to the conflict zone, which hinders the ability to provide humanitarian aid to the Nagorno Karabakh population.
The MPs urged the EU to bring up the topic during future discussions with Azerbaijan.
6 crews conducted search operations in Qashatagh's southern Berdzor-Hadrut area. 3 bodies were found.
rumors & rebuttals: Garegin Nzhdeh bust (details)
Yesterday we learned about rumors that Azeris asked Russians to pressure Artsakh to remove Garegin Nzhteh's bust from Martuni. A city official denied it.
Martuni mayor Edik Avanesyan: The news circulating in the media about the statue of Garegin Nzhdeh contains misinformation. The statue was erected in the city on September 26th. The sculptor did not even have time to finish the work. Now the issue of making the statue look complete is being discussed with him. The sculptor will decide whether to do the work on the spot or in the studio.
As for the various media rumors, I do not consider it necessary to follow them. I would advise you to stay away from unnecessary speculations about the statue.
Armenian-Jewish genocide monument is defaced
Ապրել-չմոռանալ monument was defaced by unknown vandals in Yerevan. The police are looking for perpetrators. The incident raised the ire of many public officials. "This is a highly reprehensible act, which should not happen in the city of Yerevan, where representatives of different nations live together."
The city dispatched crews to clean it. This is the second defacement in the past few months. The vandals wrote "Your name is blood [unintelligable]". It's possibly related to Israeli weapons' role in the Artsakh war.
Netflix movie about the Armenian startup ecosystem
A 12-series Netflix show "Musk Factor" is being filmed about Armenian startups. It's about four guys who turn their seemingly unrealistic idea into reality by using artificial intelligence.
Authors Safael Tadevosyan and Arthur Aloyan met the High Tech Minister Arshakyan today. "The project will present Armenia's technological capabilities to the world. By the way, the source of inspiration for this project is Karen Vardanyan."
Karen Vardanyan was a respected high-tech, robotics, and military industry expert who passed away last year.
the Engineering City construction enters an active phase
The World Bank-co-subsidized project to build a mini-city in Yerevan, with state of the art labs and high-tech offices, has entered an active phase, said Deputy PM Avinyan.
"The layout of the future city has already been approved. The auction to select the construction company will be announced soon."
"It will consist of 22 engineering companies' buildings, laboratory, parking lot, garden, engineering infrastructure. It will become a center of engineering thought and innovation, and provide a completely new environment for urban life."
Ukraine is interested in high-tech cooperation
Ukraine ambassador: We pay close attention to the efforts of the Armenian government aimed at the development of technology. We believe that this direction can become a potential for the development of mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries. We also expect that the work of the Armenian-Ukrainian intergovernmental joint commission on economic cooperation will be resumed this year.
private information protection / COVID patient list
The online use of someone else's pictures without their consent, tricks to get a person's data, and other shenanigans in 2020 were examined by the Personal Data Protection Agency.
"Some users do not realize that emails about them receiving international parcels can be fake, or that a recent Messenger app update would allow them to see who visited their page. Another scam stole Facebook login credentials by claiming your account would be locked if you don't enter credentials HERE.
Azeri hackers published private data of many COVID patients last year. The examination revealed that the healthcare servers were not hacked and that it was a result of users getting their emails breached."
police brutality & accountability / 3 cops charged
Investigators said: Three road patrol officers abused their powers and assaulted two citizens on Aug/22/2020. The officers towed the victim's improperly-parked vehicle. The victim and his friend (second victim) went to the police station and got into a verbal argument and used slurs against officers. The officers beat them up. They are suspended and charged with a felony.
"Were they supposed to swallow it?" complained a lawyer (?). How about a big fat "YES" by the narrator?
the elephant in the room
An exhibition hall has opened in the Yerevan zoo. From now on, visitors will see the Bunka elephant in its second room. It'll have a glass wall and allow visitors to get close to the elephant. It's meant to address visitor complaints that the elephant would not exit its main housing during extreme summer and winter weather.
The room will have a history corner with photos of all 4 elephants that have ever lived in Yerevan zoo since 1940. Shout out to Vova-the-party-animal who escaped and rampaged the capital.
The Zoo director says 2021 will be a turning point. New programs and animals will be introduced.
stuck in the airport
Earlier we learned that several men, who traveled from Armenia to Russia with the newly-launched flight, had issues with their QR code printed by a COVID test-center. Upon the arrival in Moscow, they were told the documents were invalid and almost found themselves arrested, before being allegedly deported (conflicting reports).
4 of the men have been sleeping in Zvartnots airport for 13 days now. They need to resolve airline-related issues. NordWind airlines allegedly refused to compensate for the tickets.
Zvartnots agent said they attempted to contact NordWind, but unsuccessfully. They contacted in written form and haven't received a response yet.
Human Rights Ombudsman said it could take over a month to finalize the investigation.
Parliamentary COVID Investigative Commission
... has sent 251 questions to various institutes, as part of the effort to learn how the pandemic was handled by the government. "The questions are related to various fields. We sent it to Audit Chamber, Central Bank, IRS, prosecutors, HRO," said the Commission president LHK MP Arkadiy.
"We would like to know why an autopsy was not conducted, and if it wasn't conducted, how did they know that the deceased person died from COVID." The govt had earlier announced that Armenia does not have a certified autopsy center that can be used during a pandemic. The first one was built on August 27th in Kotayk.
"Was the testing price affordable enough? Shouldn't the state have regulated the price?" [several private labs began providing tests last year].
"Some patients received negative test results and couldn't receive care, yet they had symptoms and infected others."
"How was the quarantine location selected, who paid for it, were there auctions," are among some of the questions the Commission will investigate.
2893 tested. 154 infected. 168 healed. 3 deaths. 4066 active.
real estate market vs 2020's COVID & war
Approx. 20% fewer transactions were made in 2020 vs 2019, but the housing property prices went up: in Yerevan Center from ֏607K to ֏645K per 1m2, in Davtashen from ֏286K to ֏313K. In the same period, the land transactions increased.
product prices in Artsakh / January YoY
Consumer price index +2.9%. Food, alcohol, and cigarettes +5.2%. Non-food +0.4%.
Artsakh's cattle population dropped 40% because of war
Large animal count went from 47K to 20K.
Small animal count from 65K to 28K.
Birds from 365K to 173K.
tax waivers in Artsakh's trade sector
Taxpayers in the trade sector in Artsakh are exempted from a number of taxes until 2023. Qualified traders will pay 1% sales tax. There will be various modifications until 2023.
CWR nature camera captures three lynx walking in the snow
Lynx are shy animals and always avoid human (narrator: good).
Yerevan budget expenditures / public transportation / new buses
The city modified the budget to increase expenditures relating to bus purchases by ֏6.4B, making it ֏12B.
They will purchase 161 mid-sized buses (avg. 8 meters).
Opposition Luys alliance wanted to know which country they will buy the buses from. "Auction participants can be from various states. The auction is based on standards and requirements. 90% of mid-sized buses are made in China. Many European states purchase Chinese ones," said Mayor Marutyan.
Construction and Active Citizen portal received ֏450M and ֏107M respectively.
The City Council approved the resolution with a 32-0-2 vote.
British firm designed a new public bus network for Yerevan
Mayor Marutyan: English WIG company designed a new bus network for us. It'll have 850 buses, 450 of which will be 7.5-8.5-meters, and the rest 12-18-meters. The new buses will allow us to get rid of microbuses that are dangerous, problematic, and uncomfortable.
who will "own" the transport routes in Yerevan?
Currently, the microbus routes in Yerevan have private owners. This makes the transport network vulnerable. Sometimes businesses don't find it financially worthy to continue to service and drop the route, leaving residents without public transport choice.
The new public bus network will be fully owned and operated by the municipality, said Mayor Marutyan. In the future, they may or may not involve a private player specifically for areas outside the city premises or furthest suburbs.
Tags: #YerevanTransport #PublicTransport #Marshrutka
trolley-bus makes a "comback" / Yerevan to extend a route
"For the first time in recent history, Yerevan will extend the trolley route by 1.5km. The line was in the Shirak-Artashisyan intersection. It'll be done by March. The trolleys will pass completely on Shirak St."
top-5 bestseller Armenian literature books in January
5) Թեյահոլիզմ, by Լիլի Մկրտչյան
4) 731 օր քեզ համար, by Տա Թևեր
3) Ինձ պիոններ չնվիրես, by Գոհար Նավասարդյան
2) Էս ի՞նչ եք անում, տղերք, by Վազգեն Սարգսյան
1) Կախվածություն, by Սյունե Սևադա
Mikael Mikaelyan scores the best skiing record in Armenian history
He finished 8th during the 15KM freestyle World Championship held among 30 countries. His prior record was 11th place. "This result was from the dream genre years ago, to fight equally, to overtake states that have invested millions of euros for such results."
meet Isaac the dog, who is here to sniff your bag
Customs agents use K9 dogs to sniff out narcotics. Isaac the German shepherd is the smugglers' worst nightmare. He made the first bust recently, after undergoing training.
Isaac's partner Albert believes that playing is an important part of training and working with a dog. They require constant attention and love. Dogs can get very jealous sometimes when other dogs receive more attention from the partner. (not just dogs, eh?)
When you enter the training facility, the first thing you notice are awards hanging from the wall. They belong to the K9s who won them during international competitions. Isaac, Alma, Diesel, Lara are some of the graduates.
The day begins with a physical checkup by doctor Nina. "I can tell by their greeting style and reaction whether they have complaints," she says.
Things happen. They can damage the paws during training. Avoiding infectious diseases is the priority. There is a sanitary routine in the facility to prevent infections.
After the checkup, dogs are taken for a 30-minute walk, followed by 30-60m physical exercise. Then comes the training part to keep their skills sharp. Dogs can react passively or actively after detecting narcotics. Passive means sit, freeze, or lay. Active means digging with paws or barking.
The facility has 11 dogs, 9 of which are on active duty. After the 2020 IRS border protection reforms, the guards began breeding and training dogs in the same facility. They were dispatched to two border entry points in Armenia.
today in history
1809: Charles Darwin was born to remind you that u stoopid
1899: Spain sells Caroline and Mariana Islands to Germany. Not a good deal.
1935: writer Hrant Matevosyan was born.
1961: USSR launches Venera-1, the first station to study the Venus
1988: first democratic protest in Stepanakert with demands to reunite Nagorno Karabakh with Armenia.
All-Armenia charity Fund has donated new bronchoscopes (lung scanners)
... to Erebuni and St. Gregory hospitals, after holding a jazz concert-fundraiser. The 4-hour concert was organized by neurosurgeon Mikael Grigoryan and his wife Lusine Mirzakhanyan, in their Los Angeles backyard.
Endoscopic dept. chief: the new devices have a monitor and HD video for a more precise diagnosis. This is especially important for COVID and detecting cancer. We had a device like this but two are better; less waiting time for patients.
donations to Artsakh & recovering soldiers
www.1000plus.am (recovering soldiers & their families)
www.HimnaDram.org (for Artsakh & Armenia)
www.ArmeniaFund.org (U.S. tax-deductible)
archive of older news
All the accused are considered innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law, even if they "sound" or "appear" guilty.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/likud7/feb122021_1_artsakh_president_holds_direct/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2020 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2021 Daily Armenia Reports|