2021 February 24

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

Feb/24/2021: (1) Armenian loitering drone presented at IDEX expo (2) Sasna Tsrer verdict, 2016 hostage (3) Can Armenians & Azeris co-exist? Aliyev is "ready". Villagers harvest crops near Azeri guards (4) Pashinyan & Serj comment Iskander (5) Biobank: new cancer research center (6) Competition law
by ar_david_hh


Your 12-minute Wednesday report in 3051 words.

IDEX-2021 military expo: Armenian loitering drones / independent target-selection tech

Yesterday we learned that during the expo in Adu Dhabi, several Armenian weapon manufacturers made agreements to sign missile/optics contracts with prospective partners to build weapons in Armenia. Contacts were exchanged.

One of the Armenian manufacturers called "Pride Systems" presented a suicide drone. It's a pentacopter drone that comes in two variants.

Fixed-wing drone and pentacopter can be armed with high-explosive or high-explosive antitank warheads, writes Shepherd Media. "The Armenian defense industry showcased new loitering munitions for the first time during the IDEX 2021 exhibition in Abu Dhabi."

Cruising speed is 140km/h while changing the sweep of the wings enables 250km/h.

If the operator loses connectivity, the drone itself selects a target according to pre-applied priorities.

The operator can use 4 drones that fly with each other to ensure interference-resistant communication. The drones can exchange data in the air and redistribute targets.

Full: https://www.shephardmedia.com/news/uv-online/idex-2021-armenian-loitering-munitions-take-bow/

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/290541/

verdict: Sasna Tsrer members are sentenced over 2016 hostage takeover

The paramilitary-nationalist group took police officers hostage in 2016 with demands for Serj's resignation. One of the reasons, as stated by a Tsrer member later, was Serj's plan to hand over 7 Artsakh regions to Azerbaijan. Tsrer member(s) killed two officers during the takeover. The verdict is in...

Smbat Barseghyan: 25 years

Pavel Manukyan (the famous mustache guy): 7 considering time served

Varujhan Avetisyan (the bold guy you see on every TV interview): 7.5 considering time served

Gagik Yeghiazaryan: 7.5

Areg Kyureghyan: 7

Armen Bilyan: 4 (prosecutors couldn't prove he participated in the actual murder)

Sedrak Nazaryan: 8

Edward Grigoryan: 6.5

Mkhitar Avetisyan: 7.5

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044346.html , https://youtu.be/_alqrftOync , https://youtu.be/_alqrftOync

Tags: #SasnaTsrer #TsrerVerdict

Armenian skier wins bronze medal

Obersdorf held a qualification tournament for the world skiing championship. Armenia's Katia Galstyan won a bronze

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044363.html

group of parents prevent sons from returning to army

An incident happened at a military station. Several parents pressured their sons not to return to service after taking a vacation. A scuffle broke out. The servicemen left. The prosecutors launched a felony case.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044349.html

video: Armenians and Azerbaijanis use the same road in Kornidzor, Syunik

Recently, Armenian and Azeri soldiers advanced their positions near Kronidzor. It's the part of Armenia that's the closest to the Lachin corridor. Soldiers from two sides are stationed close to each other.

A local farmer says the situation is calm and he has no fear. "We share the same road. This river divides us. The only problem is our village lost pasture lands and some residents were forced to sell their cattle at a low price. My mulberry trees are right on the edge of the river, near the border. I plan to collect them this season to make tut vodka."

https://youtu.be/Qn3DMoB3Gho

https://www.civilnet.am/news/2021/02/23/Armenians-and-Azerbaijanis-on-the-Same-Road-in-Kornidzor-Syunik/420376

Artsakh's village Shosh - living next to Azeris

https://youtu.be/6p8mqVwZPU0

Luxemburg Foreign Ministry about the Azeri-Turkish aggression

MFA of Luxemburg criticized Turkey and Azerbaijan for violating human rights and causing destructions in Artsakh during the war.

https://factor.am/341589.html

Human Rights Foundation about the Azeri regime: Dictatorship Sows Division in Nagorno-Karabakh

https://hrf.org/press_posts/dictatorship-sows-division-in-nagorno-karabakh/

Ilham Aliyev: "we're ready to close the page of hostility for the future of the region"

https://www.civilnet.am/news/2021/02/24/Ալիևը-պնդում-է՝-պատրաստ-է-«հանուն-տարածաշրջանի-ապագայի-փակել-թշնամանքի-էջը»/420485

Russia sent humanitarian aid to Azerbaijan

180 tons of cargo was shipped to the Qarvachar region to help repair infrastructure.

https://factor.am/341354.html

Iskander & unexploded missiles

Serj recently criticized the leadership for not using Iskander from the 4th day of the war. Others criticized that Iskander wasn't used to "blow up Azerbaijan's oil industry".

Counter-critics noted that paralyzing the Azeri oil industry with any significant outcome would be impossible with Iskander, because of its few quantities, and "Azeris could rebuild the damaged pipeline in a short period of time."

Pashinyan responded to Serj's Iskander criticism, saying that the missiles purchased by Armenia weren't fully functional. An MP from Russia felt offended and called it a lie.

Here is the part from the Pashinyan interview...

Reporter: Serj said he was surprised that "Iskander" wasn't used on the 3rd or 4th day.

Pashinyan: Serj knows answers to many questions. He should not be asking questions. Maybe he will answer why "Iskander" missiles didn't explode, or exploded only at 10% capacity. [փոխաբերական իմաստով?]

Reporter: can it happen like that?

Pashinyan: I don't know. [...] Was [Iskander also] a weapon from 1980s?

--

Parliamentary Security Committee chief Andranik: Serj brought up the topic of Iskander, which was unacceptable. Pashinyan's claim that missiles were dysfunctional should be investigated. You know there is a similar felony case over Patron Davo (David Galstyan, charged with delivering useless missiles that didn't work during the war). I also would like to know how functional were the missiles purchased in the past decades.

Reporter: wasn't it known before the war that Iskander had issues?

Andranik: It's classified information. Serj should have known [whether missiles were bad]. The army leadership should have known. When you make a purchase, a quality check should be done.

Reporter: Iskander was fired towards Shushi at the end of the war. Did the issues become known only after that?

Andranik: who said that [it was used on Shushi?]?

Reporter: General Movses Mosi Hakobyan and Serj.

Andranik: both of them have made other statements against the Republic of Armenia. I don't know whether they're telling the truth. Ask them how they found out about where and how the weapons were being used.

Reporter: wouldn't this type of statement [by Pashinyan, about Iskander quality] harm the Armenia-Russian relations?

Andranik: why don't you ask that question to Serj, who brought up the Iskander topic?

https://factor.am/341354.html , https://factor.am/341396.html , https://factor.am/341482.html

Tags: #Iskander #BadMissiles #Missiles

high ranking army official Khachatryan is sacked / reporter's "misleading Iskander article"

Lt. General Tiran Khachatryan, the deputy General Chief of Staff of armed forces, has either been fired or resigned from the position. Reporters noted that the termination is related to an interview he gave recently. In the interview, a reporter wanted to know whether an Iskander missile [cartridge?] can explode only at a 10% capacity.

Defense Ministry said: Lt. Gen Khachatryan held a phone conversation with a reporter. He told the reporter that such topics should not be discussed over the phone. The reporter insisted and noted that General Movses Hakobyan had stated that it would be possible, which made Khachatryan laugh.

After the phone conversation, while writing the article [Kocharyan's YerevanToday outlet], the reporter only presented parts of this phone conversation to intentionally distort the content of the conversation. We once again ask the reporters not to cause harm to the military with such acts.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/207494 , https://factor.am/341766.html

new education initiative in Artsakh

Artsakh Education Ministry signed a contract with "Teach, Armenia!" Foundation to grant them a license to implement various education projects, "which will give a unique opportunity to children to use the knowledge and skills in the development of their local settlements."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044406.html

600 people have received a disability status after the war

9,094 were injured or wounded. 150 lost a limb. 99 of them were examined by a newly-formed group of experts; it was determined that all of them could receive the needed prosthetics in one of Armenia's 4 prosthetics centers, without the need to travel abroad.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044353.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/207429

how many buildings should be built to house Artsakh refugees & IDPs?

10,000 buildings. It'll cost $125M. The work is in progress, with some villages already building new districts to house the refugees.

More: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/207270

THE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH

... said President Arayik during a government meeting, citing "unreasonably and immorally high apartment rental fees in capital Stepanakert." The government plans to take action. Landlords who "abuse it" could lose access to federal aid.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044412.html

Yezidis guarding the borders

Qyaram Sloyan Squad sent the next group of Yezidi volunteers to help guard the borders. It's led by Tital Sloyan, who was awarded Military Cross during the war.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/207415

update: the not-so-hijacked Armenian Boeing 737

Yesterday reports arrived that a jet, registered in Armenia, flew from Estonia to Iran and that it was allegedly sold to Iran.

Fly Armenia Airways says it's their jet: our jet was in Estonia for technical works, after which, between February 12th and 22nd, it was supposed to fly to Ukraine to continue the technical service.

The jet flew on February 20th but under unknown circumstances decided to make an emergency landing elsewhere. We are investigating it.

(This won't be the first time if it turns out that a private airline company attempted to bypass sanctions and sell a jet to Iran. A similar incident happened years ago.)

https://factor.am/341687.html

bill to reform Economic Competition Commission / Anti-predatory collusion / educate the business / free consulting to avoid violations / statute of limitations /

The Commission has recently busted several businesses with colluding to fix prices. The Commission drafted a new bill to better regulate the field. It has passed the preliminary hearing in Parliament.

Commission member Marcosyan: to prevent violations by businesses, we will provide free consulting to a business if they aren't sure if their actions would be anti-competitive. There will be public information campaigns to educate businesses and the general public about competition.

The reforms will ensure predictable and efficient enforcement. Businesses often do not understand what they are accused of violating. Sometimes our investigation concludes that the business did not violate the rules, so the case is dropped.

After the reforms, a petition to investigate won't automatically launch an investigation. The Commission will launch a preliminary investigation to find signs of violations, before launching the main investigation.

During the investigation, if the business confesses to wrongdoing, they will receive leniency by paying only 50% of the penalty.

Under existing law, a violation has no statute of limitation. Something done in 2003 could become a subject of investigation today. The reforms will introduce a 10-year statute, or possibly shorter.

Question: will there be felony punishment for violators?

The existing law already has felony punishment for some anti-competitive practices. Currently, an action is defined as a felony, regardless of the outcome. The reformed law will take into account the damage after the illegal action, and define an act as a felony based on the outcome. If there are no large ֏1-5M damages, it won't be a felony. We aren't adding more felony cases. We are ensuring the businesses by making the law more clear.

Question: then why do some businesses complain?

Maybe they haven't read the bill, or they aren't familiar with the existing law, or they just don't want to acknowledge the positive change. We expect constructive suggestions from them.

Question: sometimes businesses will collude to manipulate the market. Will the new bill fight against it?

Anti-competitive agreements are the most serious violations. It can be done verbally between two individuals without a way for us to tell what they agreed on.

After the reforms, there will be an opportunity to initiate operative-investigative measures by the Commission. The Commission will contact [law enforcement], which may or may not result in an investigation.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044168.html

Tags: #EconomicCompetition #Competition #CompetitionReform

opposition holds its now-daily rally

Vazgen Manukyan called for his supporters to meet him later that day in front of the Opera building to talk about the movement's future plans and other issues. Earlier they promised that the rallies and paralyzation of city streets will be done daily.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044340.html

HHK activists entered the Yerevan State University and encouraged students to join. The Uni rector said he supports Pashinyan's resignation, too, but "that doesn't mean you should interrupt public order."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044345.html

Family members of several missing soldiers have asked the opposition to stop the protests because they believe it encourages Azerbaijan to delay the POW swap and search operations, knowing that the delay would raise internal tensions in Armenia. "You're doing a revolution against our sons."

https://youtu.be/mbqK2lbwuHg?t=17 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044381.html

Manukyan's meeting took place in front of the Opera buildings, "which should become our headquarters, where the citizens can attend after work, walk around, meet politicians, and ask questions."

Movements mature when people make spontaneous decisions instead of waiting for orders from an organizer, said Manukyan. "I think once we reach a certain number of rallygoers, there will be a chain reaction."

Manukyan believes they will succeed when they take away the 3 leverages from the current government: the portion of the population who supports Pashinyan, the QP party, and the police.

They plan to travel through provinces tomorrow because "the communication is worse with villages, people aren't informed."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044410.html

union of reporters condemn the recent physical attacks against journalists

Azatutyun outlet was targeted twice by opposition activists, while Sputnik-Armenia journalist was injured during a police operation at a protest scene.

When opposition activist Narek Samsonyan targeted Azatutyun reporter, the latter asked the police for help, but they didn't act, says the journalists' complaint. They also noted that lately, the pro-government figures have been discriminating against opposition media outlets [some questions were ignored and one outlet's access was denied to a facility].

The union criticized rally organizers for being largely responsible for aggressive behavior towards reporters, citing their "divisive rhetoric."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044409.html

Tags: #FreeSpeech #FreedomOfPress

Yeghegnut settlement will have a new 10km street lighting network

Currently, only 10% of the streets are lit. The ֏27M project will bring light to every street.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/207388

President Sarkissian sends a judicial reform bill to Constitutional Court

Several laws were approved or are currently being discussed, relating to the judicial system. One of them, about reducing overload on the system and several other technicalities/definitions, was approved recently by the Parliament.

Today, president Sarkissian refused to sign it and chose to send it to Constitutional Court to ensure it's not unconstitutional.

Justice Ministry: we expected such a scenario, but not under the concern that it could be unconstitutional. Even the Supreme Court examined and hadn't found constitutionality issues; they support the bill to reduce overload.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044421.html

judges could earn pensions equalling 75% of salary

The previous law stated that the retired judges would earn pensions equalling 55% of their salary. That law was found unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court. As a result, the judges found themselves having to apply for "regular" low pensions.

Today, the parliament discussed a draft bill to fix the unconstitutional parts of the previous bill and to raise the size of pensions to 75% of salary. The bill is yet to receive a double-approval by MPs.

https://factor.am/341439.html

Deputy PM Avinyan met the European Bank for Reconstruction and Stuff

They discussed the ongoing plans to allow industrial hemp in Armenia, the construction and tourism projects in Yerevan's old Kond district (auction soon), the new Engineering City in Yerevan that is currently being built, etc.

As of 2020, there were €160M worth of projects co-funded by the Bank. "The growth in the previous two years have been maintained, reaching a record level of operations, with the private sector accounting for about 93%."

They discussed future cooperation in telecommunications, agriculture, and healthcare.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044404.html

COVID stats

2993 tested. 273 infected. 188 healed. 4 deaths. 4445 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044332.html

COVAX vaccines are coming

Ghana becomes the first state to receive vaccines as part of COVAX global initiative that helps low-income countries. Armenia is expected to receive the doze in coming weeks.

https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-ghana-becomes-first-country-to-receive-covax-vaccines/a-56676654

Georgia to reopen air travel with Armenia on March 1st

You need a negative test result. Vaccination is no longer required.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044366.html

roar of the century: Tsitsernakaberd pianos

The Roar of the Century Foundation and Education Ministry will install 105 pianos in front of the Genocide memorial to mark the 105th anniversary coming April 24th. They'll play classical music. The pianos will then be donated to musical schools.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044355.html

2020 stats: citizens file reports about crimes

Prosecutors received 10.4K complaints reported by citizens, down by 1.4K from 2019. Around 10% entered the investigation phase. 159 felony cases were launched.

5 reports about alleged crime were filed relating to the 44-day war. 3 resulted in felony cases. The other 2 are still being investigated.

The largest portion of complaints was about economic crimes, with 3K reports.

1.5K were about corruption.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044329.html

Spotify is coming to Armenia by the end of February

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/290548/

Microsoft Translator adds support for Armenian

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044347.html

marriage registration doesn't have to be boring

Justice Ministry allocated space in the Karen Demirchyan Hamalir facility to allow the newlywed to hold a ceremony during their marriage registration.

Demo: https://youtu.be/-9g4gt4_cxY

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044325.html

Armenia will have a biobank that meets European standards / Cancer gene research

The Medical University will lead a gene research project to combat cancer, with the help of a new bio-bank.

Earlier the Uni won a Horizon-2020 competition held by Europe, as part of the "Armenian Research Infrastructure on Cancer Research - ARICE" program. The cancer research, which will also take into account the environmental factors in Armenia besides genes, will last 3 years.

The first conference was held on February 12th, between the Uni and European colleagues. In Armenia, 60% of cancer cases are being diagnoses once it has already reached 3-4 stages, making treatment ineffective. It served as a motivation for research.

More: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/207418

Ani moved from France to Armenia to run a tourism business

Ani briefly worked at the Tourism Committee before deciding to open her "Nush" guesthouse.

Ani: I studied at Sorbonne University and resided four years in France. I was in the tourism business. When I returned to Armenia in 2018, I decided to turn my childhood house in Ashnak, Aragatsotn into a guesthouse. Unfortunately, Aragatsotn isn't popular with tourism. Not many visit it. It's a heavenly place, you just have to explore its full potential.

We wanted to turn the guesthouse into a pharos to have the tour guides stop by and enter our village. The opening was in the summer of 2019. We welcomed 300 tourists from 12 countries within 5 months. This was a fantastic result for us.

Full: https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/details/290559/

today in history

1942: the Voice of America begins its broadcasting

1955: Steve Jobs was born to bring you the i-տռուբկա.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044297.html

in case you missed Tuesday report

About the water quality in lake Sevan and other topics:

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/lqu02z/feb232021_1_lake_sevan_quality_biofilters_2_idex/?

donations to Artsakh & recovering soldiers

http://www.1000plus.am (recovering soldiers & their families)

http://www.HimnaDram.org (for Artsakh & Armenia)

http://www.ArmeniaFund.org (U.S. tax-deductible)

archive of older news

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

disclaimer

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/lrmjca/feb242021_1_armenian_loitering_drone_presented_at/

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