2021 January 19
- 1 Daily news wrap-up
- 2 NSS investigates corruption in MoD and Army / prominent arms supplier charged
- 3 former president Robert Kocharyan & Co trial resumes
- 4 Parliament votes: anti-corruption bill to make transactions transparent
- 5 Parliament votes: debtor, creditor, guarantor relations
- 6 Parliament votes։ radioactive convention
- 7 reforms: driver's license tests and exams
- 8 post-reform stats: how many drivers received points and suspension?
- 9 update: Artsakh residents closed a Qarvachar road for Azeri vehicles
- 10 POWs and diplomacy
- 11 protesters block opposition BHK's entry to Syunik province
- 12 explosion on Syunik borders
- 13 Syrian jihadist hired by Azerbaijan
- 14 search operations
- 15 jobs for Artsakh refugees living in Armenia
- 16 Artsakh refugees continue to repatriate
- 17 new settlements will be built in Artsakh with local materials
- 18 Lachin school returns to daily life
- 19 Pashinyan met the new Healthcare Ministry officials
- 20 COVID stats
- 21 COVID vs industrial production in EAEU
- 22 massive illegal gambling network busted
- 23 hikers trapped on snowy mountains
- 24 Ministry addresses concerns about grain harvest / Subsidy for high-yield wheat seed
- 25 meeting between Pashinyan and Dutch ambassador
- 26 high-tech industry
- 27 drone production in Armenia: ArMath in the air
- 28 Armenian tech company Redforest
- 29 today in history
- 30 Kond is looking for architects
- 31 donations to Artsakh & recovering soldiers
- 32 news archive
- 33 disclaimer
Daily news wrap-up
Jan/19/2021 news: __ Prominent arms supplier Mr. Davo, MOD, and Army officials charged with embezz. __ Public officials required to disclose transactions __ Tougher drivers' license law __ New settlement in Artsakh __ Drone engineering __ High tech++ __ POW & casualties __ Gambling bust __ more news
Your 12-minute Tuesday report in 2793 words.
NSS investigates corruption in MoD and Army / prominent arms supplier charged
NSS said: several officials of the Ministry of Defense used their position to reach an agreement with the employees of a number of private companies, including "Moston Engineering" company owned by Mr. Davo. A decision has been made to involve Davo as a defendant. He has been charged with embezzlement.
Galstyan goes through 4 felony cases regarding arms supplies made by his company. Evidence was obtained showing that officials from the General Chief of Staff office and Ministry of Defense abused their powers to embezzle at a large scale.
Who is Mr. Davo?
His name began circulating in 2007 when Prime Minister Serj Sargsyan ordered the privatization of Defense-related companies "Neytron" and "Bagavan". Both were purchased by an offshore firm managed by Davo in Seychelles Island.
He used the companies to form a new company DG Arms which announced plans to produce bullets. In 2009 it accumulated debt and got sued.
The UN Security Council wrote a report, stating that Davo's DJ Arms illegally supplied arms to Libya, by using Armenia and other countries.
In 2011, Davo transported weapons from Albania to Libya with the help of a company managed by the Albanian Defense Ministry, says the UN Security Council.
In 2013, a Ukrainian company decided to sue Davo's company in Armenia for $1.3 million. Several of Davo's properties were frozen.
Fast forward to 2018. Pashinyan met Davo to discuss the production of Kalashnikov weapons in Armenia. Davo signed a contract with the Russian Kalashnikov company and opened the factory.
Full report in the article:
former president Robert Kocharyan & Co trial resumes
Context: Kocharyan (president) and his co-defendants Seyran Ohanyan (chief of general staff), Yuri Khachaturov (deputy MoD), and Armen Gevorgyan (Kocharyan assistant), were charged with toppling the constitution in 2008 by illegally using the military against civilian protesters during a period before the March 1st, 2008 emergency was declared. Kocharyan and his assistant are also charged with large-scale bribery in a case involving a mining businesswoman who testified about the multi-million-dollar bribe allegedly paid by her. The trial has been repeatedly delayed by defendants for almost 2 years under various pretense, at one point prompting prosecutors to ask the court to punish defendants for the delays. Prosecutors want to advance to the evidence stage.
The trial resumed today. The defense asked the judge to dismiss the general prosecutor from the case, citing concerns that "he is following orders". Prosecutors denied the claim.
The defendants began discussing the 44-day war during the trial. Prosecutors complained and described it out-of-topic. The two sides shouted at each other, prompting an intervention by the judge.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040640.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040671.html , https://youtu.be/bQry4ljbgdA , https://factor.am/329591.html , https://factor.am/329597.html , https://factor.am/329607.html
Parliament votes: anti-corruption bill to make transactions transparent
Parliament voted 84-0-2 to approve a government bill to establish the Expenditure Declaration Institute. Single transactions over ֏2 million ($3,900) will need to be disclosed by public officials. If there are multiple smaller transactions instead, these transactions must be published if they exceed ֏3 million.
To fight against corruption in which a public official buys property as a gift for a friend but uses it for personal benefit, the official will be required to disclose the property that is legally owned by a friend but brings any kind of revenue to the official, or a property that was gifted but is being managed by the official.
Parliament votes: debtor, creditor, guarantor relations
Parliament voted 115-0-4 to approve a LHK bill. If a debtor fails to pay his debt, the guarantor who had earlier vouched for the debtor will bear subsidiary liability, but only after the claim is made against the debtor. The guarantor's property can be confiscated only after such an attempt is made against the debtor's property.
Parliament votes։ radioactive convention
Parliament voted 88-0 to ratify a CIS convention about improving communication between CIS member-states while transporting radioactive materials. It should improve safety by providing mutual assistance to detect safety issues, safer transport, info, etc.
Parliament voted 85-0 to ratify a child protection convention against child trafficking and pedophilia. "With the ratification of the Protocol, the Republic of Armenia is obligated to pay due attention to the views and recommendations of the Committee on the complaints of persons under its jurisdiction."
reforms: driver's license tests and exams
As part of recent reforms, the process of obtaining a driver's license will become harder. The written exams will be available in English, Russian, Farsi, and Arabic.
The exams will last 30 minutes instead of 15, with 20 questions instead of 10.
Moped will require a license.
A, A1, and B1 license requires a behind-the-wheel test in special racetracks.
B license requires a test on the streets.
All other licenses require both: on the streets and in racetracks.
A, B, BE licenses require medical approval if the applicant has certain impairments.
Certain commercial licenses require a medical test for everyone.
Foreign citizens must present a document proving their status as a legal resident.
post-reform stats: how many drivers received points and suspension?
The traffic enforcement law was changed recently. All drivers have 9 points that they can waste annually before being suspended. The most serious violations result in instant suspension. This was partly done so "rich" drivers wouldn't "get away" with paying only monetary penalties.
In 2020, some 2175 drivers got suspended for 6 months. 414,825 citations were issued to deduct points.
Traffic safety violations by year:
2018: 1.6 million
2019: 1.9 million
2020: 1.7 million
update: Artsakh residents closed a Qarvachar road for Azeri vehicles
Context: two roads used to connect Artsakh to Armenia. The northern road was traveling through Qarvachar (Kelbajar), which is one of the 7 adjacent regions that is now under Azeri control. It used to connect Armenia's Vardenis to northern Artsakh. After the war, only Lachin road is available, so Artsakh's northern residents must travel long distances via Lachin to visit Armenia.
Yesterday, a group of residents from Artsakh's northern Drmbon village closed a road that travels through the village into the Qarvachar region. Azeris were using this Armenian road to connect to Qarvachar. In exchange for using the Armenian road in Drmbon, the residents want Azeris to unblock the northern Qarvachar road so Artsakh residents can once again have the second road to connect to Armenia's Vardenis.
Russian peacekeepers met the residents to hear their complaints. Residents said the closure of the 90km northern Qarvachar road forces them to travel 500km via Lachin. Russian peacekeepers said their job is only to provide peace and monitor infrastructure, and that such issues would need to be resolved at higher levels. The peacekeeper promised to do his part in resolving the issue.
POWs and diplomacy
Artsakh MFA Babayan sent letters to international institutes to pressure Azerbaijan to reveal information about POWs. He accused Azerbaijan of illegally holding captive 64 soldiers who were captured during skirmishes in the Hadrut region.
Arab human rights foundation Maat has urged Azerbaijan to return Armenian POWs. "The actions of the Azerbaijani authorities are a gross violation of international humanitarian law."
The human rights ombudsman met the German ambassador to discuss issues relating to POWs.
Parliamentary Defense Committee chairman: recently we met the families of POWs and missing soldiers to present the progress and hear their opinions. When the topic of POWs is publicly raised on certain platforms, it only harms the process of the speedy return of POWs. This issue has no immediate solution. (likely in response to some opposition MPs who left the Parliament floor yesterday after fiery speeches).
protesters block opposition BHK's entry to Syunik province
A group of demonstrators were against the BHK leadership's visit to Syunik. They also criticized the former regime PM candidate Vazgen Manukyan for calling Gyumri protesters "hobos" and accused him of "plundering Gyumri" in the past.
BHK leadership met the protesters and accused Pashinyan of violating the November 9th statement by pulling troops from Syunik borders, "which is a violation of one of the Statement paragraphs which states that troops can remain in their positions."
The residents accused the BHK MP of misrepresenting the Statement, saying that "the Armenian troops are being removed from the Artsakh-side of the border and not Syunik... You would have done the same thing if you were in Nikol's place."
explosion on Syunik borders
Two emergency crew workers received wounds after a bomb explosion in a bordering area near the south-eastern part of Syunik. The crews were searching for war casualties when the incident took place.
Syrian jihadist hired by Azerbaijan
Middle East reporter obtained information from one of the jihadists recruited by Azerbaijan. The Hamza Division fighter stated that the jihadists were more afraid of Azeri soldiers than Armenians, because of how badly they were treated by Azeris.
Search crews found the bodies of 7 soldiers and 1 civilian in the Hadrut, Jabrayil, and Davit Bek regions. The Hadrut civilian was identified by relatives. The identities of others are being checked by medical teams.
jobs for Artsakh refugees living in Armenia
Labor Ministry: we'll help Artsakh residents to find jobs. There are two programs that teach skills and help find work. 660 people have already applied. We consulted with businesses to find available positions.
The applicant will be paid ֏100,000/month to receive skills. We will pay the business ֏34,000/mo to teach the skills.
The second program will help refugees to find community work and get paid ֏8,000/day.
Artsakh refugees continue to repatriate
175 returned to Artsakh today, bringing the total via the Lachin corridor to 50,002.
new settlements will be built in Artsakh with local materials
Most of the masonry produced in the Martakert mine will be used for building a new settlement in Artsakh. The government and "Future Generation Foundation" are still discussing the location and design of the new settlement. The work will begin this Spring. The new mine near Martakert will replace two others that went under Azeri control during the war.
Lachin school returns to daily life
Lachin corridor has several Armenian villages that remain under Armenian control. The school in Aghavno village has resumed its operations after renovating the damaged building. The attendance is twice lower than in pre-war time but the numbers grow as more families return.
Pashinyan met the new Healthcare Ministry officials
Pashinyan: It should be noted that during now-former Minister Torosyan's tenure, the Healthcare Ministry was one of our most effective departments. Since 2018, large-scale people-oriented reforms have been implemented. The goal was to expand the quality and scope of the health services.
There was a time when we were criticized for the handling of COVID. Critics would show other countries and say "Here is how to fight the coronavirus." But we are confident that we have taken the balanced road. Our approach was justified in reality. (he is saying that some countries initially had lower infections numbers but eventually "caught up", despite causing more harm to their economies with stricter closures in the initial period)
Our next challenge was the war. We currently have a problem with identifying the bodies. Despite the complications, the work has recently gained a very acceptable pace.
Our new Healthcare Minister is Anahit Avanesyan, who was the Deputy Minister and was part of Torosyan's team. Her appointment is a result of our trust in them. I wish her good luck. I hope that the pace of reforms in the healthcare sector will increase.
+2224 tested. +236 infected. +436 healed. +9 deaths. 7671 active.
COVID vs industrial production in EAEU
Armenia saw the smallest decline in the EAEU trade bloc when it comes to industrial production. It stood at $3.766 billion after a -0.2% decline.
EAEU -2.8%. Russia -3%. Belarus -0.7%. Kazakh -0.8%. Kyrgyz -5.5%.
massive illegal gambling network busted
Police said: Poker gambling was organized in a Yerevan building without a license. Dealers were hired. Drugs were circulated. The organizer was making ֏600K/day by receiving 4% of the winning amount. 10 people were detained. ֏5.5 billion in total damages and unpaid fees.
hikers trapped on snowy mountains
A group of hikers got stuck on a mountain near Dzoraglukh, Aragatsotn, and couldn't climb down. Emergency crews were sent to hospitalize them.
Ministry addresses concerns about grain harvest / Subsidy for high-yield wheat seed
"Armenia is self-sufficient in a number of crops. The gap is filled with imports. The supply of grain has not stopped even in the most difficult conditions of the epidemic and the war," said Economy Ministry in response to concerns that Armenia could face "hunger".
"The concerns about hunger was raised back in March 2020 when it was claimed that Armenia, just as other countries facing pandemic-related difficulties, could face hunger by November. At the time, we assessed the situation, and the EAEU bloc not only met the demand but produced 46 million tons in excess and decided to export it to non-member states. The EAEU ensures its members have supplies before exporting."
"We're constantly in touch with food importers and storage operators to monitor the supplies. We haven't recorded deficiencies."
"Armenia is self-sufficient in fruits, vegetables, eggs, goat and lamb meat, somewhat beef. We import poultry, wheat, legumes."
"25% of Armenia's demand was met by imports from Artsakh. The 2019 harvest was mostly collected in 2020 and brought to Armenia just before the war. There is a subsidy program that distributes free seeds and fuel to Artsakh farmers."
"In the Autumn of 2020, we launched a program to help farmers in Armenia. The purchase of high-quality wheat seeds is being subsidized by the government. 5,000 tons of seed will be planted in 20,000 hectares. On average, the wheat yield is 1.8 tons. We plan to increase it to 3 tons."
meeting between Pashinyan and Dutch ambassador
They spoke about high tech and possible investments from the Netherlands. The ambassador will inform Dutch business circles about opportunities. The two spoke about the proposed unblocking of trade routes in the region.
High Tech Minister Arshakyan held a meeting to present Armenian tech companies that won as part of the "Virtual Bridge" initiative, which was organized by the Draper University, AGBU, and the Ministry.
"Each of these companies has the opportunity to attract large investments and conquer markets in Armenia and abroad. On January 28, they will have the opportunity to present their programs to international investors."
"The ministry will soon announce new business grant programs."
drone production in Armenia: ArMath in the air
ArMath is a high-tech program that teaches robotics and engineering to students across Armenia. They launched a new "ArMath in the skies" program to teach students "drone production and love towards high tech."
All 65 cities in Armenia and Artsakh will have a workshop. Anyone between the ages of 15-18 can join. The project will cost ֏422 million.
Each workshop will operate for a year and build 7 drones. 750 students will be trained annually. "The army will receive 2,500 trained personnel within 2 years."
Armenian tech company Redforest
... has released a new visual-graphics feature for its 10 million users. Within minutes, the users can produce clips, logos, websites, mock-ups, etc. for social media consumption. It's an "all-in-one platform".
today in history
1910: famous Armenian writer Hrachya Kochar was born.
2007: Armenian-Turkish journalist and activist Hrant Dink was killed in Turkey for being Armenian and supporting the recognition of the Armenian genocide.
Kond is looking for architects
Kond is an old district in Yerevan with dozens of cultural-historical monuments. The government wants to "turn it into a tourist spot, revive and develop it", so they launched an auction to find the best sketch-design for development.
Briefly about the planned work:
1) Arranging access and attractiveness of all entrances to the district
2) Development of a system for easier communication within the district
3) Specialized cafes (artists, architects, etc.) open and closed, Visitor Information Center.
4) Open public areas with relevant themes.
5) Disability access.
6) No cars.
(more details in links)
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)
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/l0tunj/jan192021_news_prominent_arms_supplier_mr_davo/
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