2021 July 13
- 1 Daily news wrap-up
- 2 police arrests brother of Masis mayor / international prostitution ring
- 3 anti-corruption: details about the felony charges against ex-mayor of Meghri and his municipal staff
- 4 anti-corruption: prosecutors prepare charges against Sisian (Syunik) mayor
- 5 Kocharyan-ARF alliance member is charged with leaking judge's private information
- 6 anti-corruption: illegal storage building in the Gyumri's Yeritasardakan Park
- 7 anti-corruption: the head of Judicial Department resigns amid a corruption investigation
- 8 Kocharyan-ARF alliance promises street struggle and acts of disobedience
- 9 Constitutional Court continues to discuss the election results
- 10 $1.2 billion for Syunik tunnels / North-South / road to Black Sea / Infrastructure Minister gives details
- 11 photos: stone road project continues / Lernapat has a tuf street
- 12 $18.7 million to plant forests in Armenia
- 13 regional elections will be held in October
- 14 cryogenic equipment for liquid oxygen production
- 15 National Science Laboratory intensifies cooperation with diasporan scientists
- 16 Armenia summons ambassadors of states that joined Aliyev's Shushi trip
- 17 a member of a search crew sustained a wound from a landmine explosion in Martuni, Artsakh
- 18 deputy chief of general staff of Russian army visited Armenia
- 19 deputy Russian premier and Ilham Aliyev discussed the unblocking of regional trade routes
- 20 Ilham Aliyev insists that the Karabakh conflict is over
- 21 U.S. Secretary Anthony Blinken called Pashinyan
- 22 Pashinyan held a Security Council meeting behind closed doors
- 23 High Tech Ministry wants to keep official's trips and negotiations secret, citing national security
- 24 Yerevan goes berserk on illegal buildings / all illegal structures on city lands belong to city
- 25 Yerevan discusses metro train revamp with international partners
- 26 a group got stuck on Mt. Aragats
- 27 additional educational support will be introduced for students with low progress
- 28 COVID stats
- 29 soldiers have been receiving vaccines since May
- 30 photos: tourists form a long line to receive their free vaccine in Yerevan's Northern Avenue
- 31 💘 southern neighbors are getting NAUGHTY 💘
- 32 International Boxing Association has plans in Armenia
- 33 Pashinyan met the Soccer Federation chief Melikbekyan
- 34 France and Armenia will cooperate in the field of heritage
- 35 the National Library has a... choir???
- 36 today in history
- 37 yesterday's news
- 38 end of report
- 39 Support David's Daily Armenia News Summaries!
Daily news wrap-up
News - Jul/13/2021: Anti-corruption wave: mayors, bribery, human traff., judicial system, lands __ Kocharyan ally charged w/leaking private info of judge presiding over Kocharyan trial __ Court vs Elections __ $1.2b Syunik tunnels & roads __ New forests __ National Science Lab __ Karabakh news __...
Your 13-minute Tuesday recap in 3454 words.
police arrests brother of Masis mayor / international prostitution ring
Context about the Masis mayor Davit Hambardzuumyan. Today the authorities announced the arrest of mayors brother Gor.
He is accused of aiding a group to run a prostitution ring involving the trafficking of individual(s) across the border. Three of his alleged accomplices are charged with human trafficking. They have all been arrested.
The mayor's brother denied wrongdoing and called the accusations "funny".
anti-corruption: details about the felony charges against ex-mayor of Meghri and his municipal staff
Context in previous posts. Ex-mayor of Meghri Mkhitar Zakaryan is facing charges over multiple incidents. He resigned days earlier to become an MP as part of the Kocharyan-ARF alliance.
Investigative Committee reports: the investigation has uncovered evidence that Meghri (Syunik) mayor Zakaryan (2016-2021) committed a forgery and sold lands illegally for personal and group benefit.
In 2012, the Meghri municipality authorized the land to be leased for a period of 25 years for the purpose of using it to grow perennial plants. However, the land was used to built cafes and other illegal structures.
In 2019, instead of stopping the process, the Meghri mayor aided the crime because the lessee was his friend. His aide and an expert from the city's Urban Development Department forged a legal document to claim the land wasn't included in the database of lands that are not meant for appropriation.
In June 2020, Meghri municipality held an illegal auction and gave the land to mayor Zakaryan's friend. To finalize the process, they contacted the federal Cadastre Committee but came across a barrier.
The mayor then demanded a new petition to be filed with the federal Cadastre Committee. The feds then asked the mayor to "prove" the land was allowed to be appropriated, so the mayor forged another document to show the land did not fall under restrictions.
The transaction was completed.
A felony case is launched against mayor Zakaryan, his aide, and the official working at the Urban Development department. The court has authorized the arrest of mayor Zakaryan before his trial.
Tags: #mayors #Syunik
anti-corruption: prosecutors prepare charges against Sisian (Syunik) mayor
Prosecutors asked the Electoral Commission for permission to lift Sisian mayor Gor Abrahamyan's immunity. He was running for parliament under the Kocharyan-ARF alliance ballot.
The mayor is accused of abuse of power, forgery for personal/group benefit, meddling with writings, preparing and submitting false documents.
Earlier we learned that the court authorized the law enforcement to raid Kocharyan's electoral campaign office in Sisian after reports that they had some "ballot printing machine". It is unclear whether the mayor's case is related to this.
Kocharyan-ARF alliance member is charged with leaking judge's private information
Judge Anna Danibekyan was earlier chased down and harassed on the streets by pro-Kocharyan activists after deciding to jail Kocharyan. Later, someone leaked her private information about a medical surgery.
Today the prosecutors announced charges against Narek Mantashyan, a member of the Kocharyan-ARF alliance. According to the report, on 8 April 2020, someone from a "Russian" email service (bk.ru) sent an email to Mantashyan's work account, containing the private information about the judge.
The next day, the [now MP candidate] Mantashyan published the information during a press conference to Hayeli club.
A felony case is launched. Mantashyan is told not to leave the country.
anti-corruption: illegal storage building in the Gyumri's Yeritasardakan Park
Last month the media wrote about someone allegedly building an illegal structure in the Park while enjoying "protection" from someone. The authorities launched an investigation.
Prosecutors' report: it's about a 3,000 m^2 land in the Park that coincides with the Park's territory. The law prohibits transferring these lands to individuals or businesses. Despite this, the Gyumri municipality sold the land to one of its municipality council members for ֏3.7m on 19 March 2018.
A year later, the "owner" sold the land to the owner of Domus retailer chain for ֏12m. The latter obtained a permit to build a cafe but ended up building a storage facility.
A felony case is launched. //
anti-corruption: the head of Judicial Department resigns amid a corruption investigation
Last month we learned that the prosecutors are preparing to press forgery and embezzlement charged against nine judicial department officials, including two judges, for allegedly falsifying travel logs to defraud the state.
Today the Supreme Court (not Constitutional Court) has revealed that the head of the Judicial Department Karen Poladyan ~~had resigned on June 19~~ will no longer serve after July 19. The Supremes did not reveal whether he quit or was fired.
Kocharyan-ARF alliance promises street struggle and acts of disobedience
KochARFyan (see what I did there?) leaders announced that they will not stop marching on the streets as part of their campaign against the government.
The means of struggle will become more decisive after entering Parliament, said ARF Ishkhan Saghatelyan. They will continue to organize acts of disobedience (usually closing streets)
The alliance believes their mayors are being "politically persecuted" in Syunik and elsewhere.
Constitutional Court continues to discuss the election results
The former regime's representative asked the ruling party's representative Justice Minister Badasyan whether he trusts the Electoral Commission, whose members were appointed during the Serj administration [although the Commission chief was a member since 1996]. The Minister said they trust the Commission.
Serj's representative argued that Pashinyan did not have the right to serve as caretaker Premier after his resignation.
Kocharyan's representative asked the court to limit the ruling QP's Parliament mandates to 3/5th to ensure "checks and balances". He suggested that the post-2015 Constitution authorized this. Kocharyan does not want Pashinyan to decide who the general prosecutor is. He wants the opposition to have more say during various appointments.
The court rejected Kocharyan ally's petition to require NSS to present border crossing logs for every voter to see whether they were in Armenia on the election day, and the list of citizens who signed up on voter lists.
Judge Vahe Grigoryan asked the Electoral Commission chief to explain, in his opinion, why the "turnout" was 1.5 million in 2017, and only 1.2 million in 2018 [and 2021]. The judge wanted to understand the sudden 300,000 voter discrepancy.
The Electoral Commission chief responded saying that they have already discussed the 2017 election results in Constitutional Court. He doesn't know why the "turnout" plummeted after 2017. He said there were mechanisms to verify whose votes were counted back in 2017.
[The judge has a record of criticizing the Electoral Commission for not purging ineligible voters who have long emigrated out of Armenia. The opponents of the former regime believe that the real turnout was not 1.5m before 2018, and that the turnout numbers plummeted post-2018 simply because the new administration stopped "writing numbers" for itself. For comparison, the reported turnout in 2017 was 61%, while only 49% during the "more important" 2021 elections.]
The court also rejected the opposition's petition to require the IRS and Premier's office to present detailed info on the number of public workers.
The final verdict will be likely read tomorrow.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058019.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058027.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058045.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058079.html https://factor.am/393046.html https://factor.am/393013.html https://factor.am/393085.html https://youtu.be/bIsPmJNfAtM
$1.2 billion for Syunik tunnels / North-South / road to Black Sea / Infrastructure Minister gives details
Minister Papikyan visited the site where a 50km road is being renovated. They plan to finish it this year.
Papikyan: the EU pledged to help with €600 million. It's a big number. The government already has the design and estimate documents so I think we can launch the construction auction this August.
Right now our task is to clarify the financial part, to accelerate it. The EU promised the aid but we need to know which channels will be used to spend it.
The government will use its own resources, too. It's great that we have the money now. The tunnel sections to Qajaran alone will cost $1.2 billion, followed by $250m towards Agarak. I think the funds should be enough. If not, we will discuss it.
Some road construction was halted due to ongoing court trials. We're negotiating to resume or relaunch the process, or for the construction companies to receive permission to continue the work.
Will there be a major construction on the Gyumri-Bavra section? It largely depends on the Georgian side. They should renovate on their side to be able to reach the ports on the Black Sea.
Gyumri-Armavir is a more problematic section. The auction will be held this year. The construction begins in 2022. //
photos: stone road project continues / Lernapat has a tuf street
A federal subsidy program is building inner roads in Lernapat, Lori. The road connecting to the school will be made of tuf stones.
Recently the govt encouraged the use of stones for certain types of rural roads, with the use of locally-produced stones.
==Hayravanq's central road is being renovated
The village in Gegharkunik will have a new road by September as part of a federal-local co-subsidy program.
$18.7 million to plant forests in Armenia
... within the next 8 years, with the help of a UN and "green" partners, announced the Nature Ministry.
The goal is to expand forests by 2.5%, reduce wood-burning by 30% in villages, use modern forest technologies.
regional elections will be held in October
A reporter asked the Infrastructure Minister if they are happy with Gyumri mayor (independent, ex-BHK) Samvel Balasanyan. Minister Papikyan said "I highly appreciate the work done by the mayor." He did not say who the ruling QP's candidate will be. They are still discussing.
Minister Papikyan was asked if it's true that he will become deputy Premier. "The media gives me a new job every day," he responded.
cryogenic equipment for liquid oxygen production
The National Science Laboratory (NSL) will soon import new cryogenic equipment, said Ani Aprahamyan, the director of NSL and an honorary professor at Notre Dame University.
Aprahamyan: the NSL was producing oxygen to the best of its abilities. Last year, at one point, we were supplying 95% of oxygen to Yerevan hospitals. The issue is with the center being 65 years old. Something would break every two weeks.
Our U.S.-based diasporan doctors and orgs helped to modernize the station. It should work another 50 years. The new center will launch its operations on August 13 and will supply oxygen to all of Armenia.
We had to import the liquid oxygen from Georgia during the war. The new station will make us self-sufficient. Besides that, the quality of the new oxygen is much better. It's good enough for scientific use. //
National Science Laboratory intensifies cooperation with diasporan scientists
NSL director Aprahamyan: diasporan Armenians stood up after the war and expressed a desire to have their input in the science field. They understand that Armenia's future depends on science. The diaspora is ready to help our students.
12 physicists will arrive this Friday to work in the field. Hopefully, their numbers will increase with new groups. We need to create conditions so the students will only focus on science.
We're thinking about establishing links between Armenia and U.S.-based organizations that finance science. Four students from the U.S. have also expressed interest to move to Armenia and work with NSL.
New cooperation agreements have been made. There is a large U.S.-based project called "Electron-Ion Collider". Armenian scientists are taking part in it. Prior to this, our scientists were already working at the Jefferson Lab. This new cooperation agreement takes it to a new level. We plan to lead, come up with solutions to problems, accept orders.
We plan to build the first Class 1000 Cleanroom in Armenia that will allow us to conduct scientific experiments. //
Armenia summons ambassadors of states that joined Aliyev's Shushi trip
Aliyev and 46 foreign ambassadors visited the occupied Shushi last week. Armenian MFA summoned the representatives to hand over a note of complaint.
a member of a search crew sustained a wound from a landmine explosion in Martuni, Artsakh
The group was canvassing a former battlefield to find bodies.
deputy chief of general staff of Russian army visited Armenia
MOD Vagharshak hosted Sergey Istrakov. They discussed cooperation programs.
deputy Russian premier and Ilham Aliyev discussed the unblocking of regional trade routes
Ilham Aliyev insists that the Karabakh conflict is over
He said Azerbaijan itself "implemented the UN Security Council resolution". He said Azerbaijan has restored its territorial integrity. "Karabakh conflict is a thing of a past."
He said seven members of the UN Security Council (smaller states), who are members of the Non-Alignment Movement, had helped Azerbaijan to block an anti-Azeri resolution by the UN Security Council during the 2020 war. More on that in April/30/2021 news post.
... to congratulate on the election victory and vowed to continue to help with democratic reforms. Pashinyan thanked Blinken for valuing the outcome of democratic reforms, for helping with the recent Police and other reforms.
Pashinyan said the Karabakh conflict has not been resolved and requires a comprehensive resolution for long-lasting peace, with the help of the Minsk Group.
Pashinyan held a Security Council meeting behind closed doors
High Tech Ministry wants to keep official's trips and negotiations secret, citing national security
Members of civil society are concerned about a bill proposed by the High Tech Ministry last week. The Ministry believes it is best not to publish information on the e-govt.am platform about the purpose of official trips, the content of negotiations, and certain types of purchases, for the purposes of national security.
Armenia and Russia are currently working on army reforms. It is unclear whether it's related.
Some NGOs expressed concerns that it could open room for corruption. They want to make sure that data like hotel and accommodation fees remain open.
Yerevan goes berserk on illegal buildings / all illegal structures on city lands belong to city
The municipal council decided to bring its land management code in line with the federal code. The law states that federal authorities can do "whatever they want" with structures built on federal lands [such as demolish illegal ones], while the cities can do the same on city-owned lands.
The capital wants to give the mayor the right to demolish any illegal buildings on city-owned lands, regardless of whether the property could qualify for the "legalization process" or not. The complaint is that many people would build illegal buildings then take advantage of the law that's "on their side".
TLDR: any illegally-built structure on city's public lands becomes the property of the city.
Opposition Luys councilwoman supported the amendment, while opposition BHK member objected it, saying it violates the property owner's rights. Even though the owner broke the law by building the structure, he still has certain rights, said the BHK Councilman. The ruling party members objected to BHK's argument.
The council voted 39-0-2 to authorize the amendment.
Yerevan discusses metro train revamp with international partners
Officials from Infrastructure Ministry and Yerevan municipality met the representative of the Eurasian Development Bank to discuss the modernization of the metro fleet.
They spoke about the financial model that was used for revamping the regular trains operated by the South Caucasus Railways. The officials believe the rising Metro ridership numbers and aging wagons warrant an upgrade. The water removal system also needs a revamp.
The Bank said they are interested in discussing a public-private deal. They will meet soon.
a group got stuck on Mt. Aragats
The emergency department received a call at five o'clock at night informing that one of the climbers needs medical help. The group had traveled from Qar Lake to Aragats peak.
Upon arriving at the slopes, the rescuers learned that the group had lost its path and did not know how to climb down. Rescuers found them several hours later 6km south.
No one ever gets lost while playing video games, FYI.
additional educational support will be introduced for students with low progress
According to a 2015 Human Capital Index study which analyzed Math and Nature Sciences skills, 35% of world children under 10yo cannot comprehend the content of the text after receiving education. The topic was revived in Armenia after Pashinyan mentioned the need for education reforms in Armenia during the election campaign.
Armenia's 2019 Index showed improvement compared to 2015 findings. The number of Armenian children who scored below 400 points reduced from 30% to 20%. It's still bad.
In 2019 the Education Ministry launched a process to reform the State Standards and Subject Standards. It was the first reform in 15 years.
Deputy Education Minister Andreasyan: back in 2020 we prepared a plan to find children who are left out of the education system. Cooperation between various agencies can help bring them back to school. [children in low-income families are one example]
Per the 2020 October 13 decree, the aforementioned children with special needs and learning difficulties will receive additional educational assistance. There will be երկարօրյա education. Some children who cannot come to school will receive education outside the class.
The երկարօրյա groups will have up to 25 students. They will be formed by September 10. //
4150 tested. 138 infected. 79 healed. 2 deaths. 3128 active (up).
soldiers have been receiving vaccines since May
photos: tourists form a long line to receive their free vaccine in Yerevan's Northern Avenue
46 Iranian tourists spent the night sleeping on the streets, a-la Apple line. Is this the best vaccine advertisement that will finally convince Armenians to take one?
💘 southern neighbors are getting NAUGHTY 💘
Iran unveils state-approved Islamic dating app "Hamdam" to boost marriage. The users undergo identity verification, take a psychology test, and receive a marriage consultation for the first four years, after getting a match on the app.
Supporters believe it will help Iran protect "family values that are under threat by outside forces". Iranian leaders are concerned about the rising marriage age and declining birth rates. They recently prepared a law to restrict abortion and provide financial incentives for marriage.
The dating apps are somewhat popular in Iran despite being banned. Hamdam is the only non-haram.
International Boxing Association has plans in Armenia
Deputy Education/Sports Minister Giloyan and the head of Armenian boxing federation Hovsepyan hosted the president of AIBA.
The Ministry wants international matches to be held in Armenia as part of the plan to develop the sport. The AIBA chief agreed and said they could even consider holding the adult Euro championship in Armenia.
Pashinyan met the Soccer Federation chief Melikbekyan
Pashinyan: soccer is one field where people see a noticeable change. We welcome these changes. Our national team brought us important victories during difficult times. They became the pioneers of the return of positive emotions.
I don't want to put too much pressure on their shoulders and constrain them but we mentioned in our 2050 vision that soccer should develop and we should expect some very specific results by then. We expect to see them in Euro or World cup tournament, and even win a prize.
It's going to be difficult to achieve this but it's needed because developing soccer is part of developing the country's social-economic system. We will support you to the best of our abilities.
Melikbekyan: thanks for your support during the difficult times. We needed that support to achieve the results that we did in recent times. Our plans are a bit different: we aim to reach Euro/World tournament by 2024 instead of 2050.
- GOOD LUCK!
France and Armenia will cooperate in the field of heritage
A French expert in heritage preservation will visit Armenia to organize an education course in Matenadaran, said the French embassy in Yerevan.
Armenian experts will receive a 5-year training. They will consider projects for French and Armenian experts/students to work together. There will be student exchanges.
France will help Armenia to restore symbolic objects of Armenian heritage.
the National Library has a... choir???
Soon they will. The Library plans to join the Arar choir to form a new group. The new choir will perform Armenian and foreign music based on literature.
today in history
1923: the giant HOLLYWOOD sign is installed on Los Angeles hill
1930: the first soccer world cup launches in Uruguay
Перевод на русский by Impossible-Ad-
end of report
The accused are innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law, even if they "appear" guilty.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ojodbs/news_jul132021_anticorruption_wave_mayors_bribery/
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