2021 July 22

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

News - Jul/22/2021: Construction boom __ Production of anti-thermal outfit, vest, helmet __ Space cooperation __ National airlines __ Karabakh conflict __ Meeting with private investors __ Nikol congratulates Rob & Serj __ Prosecutors charge ruling officials' family members __ Diasporans come to aid
by ar_david_hh


Your 13-minute Thursday recap in 3358 words.

the new national airline will hire Armenian pilots, engineers, and crew members

Last week we learned that the government [ANIF fund] and Air Arabia partnered to create a new Armenian low-cost national airline. It will have 15 jets stationed in Yerevan airport by 2026.

Q: why are you creating the new airlines?

ANIF: Armenia has achieved impressive success in the field of tourism over the past decade. Tourism accounted for 11.8% of GDP in 2019, and 12.5% of employment. Our lack of competitiveness has always been a barrier. The new cooperation will address that.

Q: why are public funds being invested in a program with a foreign company? Is it an effective allocation of state funds?

Absolutely. The cooperation with a world-leading carrier is beneficial for business and in terms of investment reputation. This isn't an "expense", it's an "investment" in a promising business plan that will add economic value.

Q: wouldn't it be better for Armenia to be the sole owner of the new airlines?

We examined the prior experience. Experts concluded that it's best to work alongside established players. Air Arabia has an efficient business model and experience.

Q: is it really a "national" carrier if it's partially owned by a foreign company?

From a legal point of view, there is no regulation about "national air carrier". It will be the only carrier around half of which is owned by the state. You could call it "national carrier".

It won't have a state sponsorship or state subsidy (դոտացիա), however. That wouldn't be a proper use of taxpayer funds. A national carrier shouldn't be a burden, it should create an economic value.

Q: what's the ownership share?

Armenia owns the majority but Air Arabia has the decision-making power. Armenia will have a say in the management board appointments.

Q: how will it be managed?

Board of directors, appointed by ANIF and Air Arabia. The company will operate under the business model currently operated by Air Arabia. The company will apply a dynamic, competitive pricing policy specific to budget airlines.

Q: will they hire Armenian staff?

Yes. Yerevan will be the base. The directors will be appointed by ANIF and Air Arabia. The new company leadership will then make other appointments.

Q: why did you decide to hold a competition to allow the public to choose the new company's name?

Why not? We already have 300 suggestions. The competition ends in three weeks.

Q: when will the flight begin?

The aircraft operator certification process will take place soon. The exact date is TBD.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058826.html

Pashinyan had a phone call with Putin

They discussed the regional issues, joint military and economic projects.

Russian MFA spokeswoman said they are concerned about the recent escalation of tensions on the Nakhijevan border, and expressed condolences on the death of an Armenian soldier last week. Russia hopes that the AM-AZ border demarcation process will begin ASAP.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058852.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058854.html

Armenia and Russia will cooperate in the field of space activities

Pashinyan created an expert group tasked with exploring space cooperation with Russia.

The group includes the Defense Ministry, National Security Services, High Tech Ministry, the Army command, GeoKosmos Inc., Byurakan Observatory, and the National Academy of Sciences.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058858.html

Armenian company will produce bulletproof vests, ballistic helmets, and anti-thermal outfits

The government gave a tax waiver to a company to invest ֏2.3 billion in the production of the military equipment.

[Flashback 2020: Armenians scrambled to find solutions to hide the soldiers from enemy drones' thermal-vision tech. It's unclear whether these outfits will have anti-drone cloaking.]

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/294496/

Pashinyan about Azerbaijan's provocations:

The situation remains tense. The Azeri provocations continue to pose a threat to regional stability, Armenia, and Artsakh. Armenian and Russian joint forces, and the Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh, play a crucial role in preserving peace.

I continue to believe that Azerbaijan's goal is to disrupt the implementation of Nov 9 and Jan 11 trilateral statements. Specifically, the unblocking of regional communication routes and lifting the blockade. Armenia gives great importance to opening the trade routes. We will continue to work in this direction.

We expect Azerbaijan to fulfill its obligation of returning POWs and other captives.

We reaffirm our earlier proposal for both sides to withdraw their troops from [Gegharkunik border areas where Azeris intruded] to replace them with Russians or international observers to make it possible to launch the border delimitation-demarcation process.

Armenia is ready for a peace negotiation process. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058791.html

two more Azeris sustain wounds from a landmine explosion in occupied territories of Artsakh

The construction workers triggered an anti-personnel mine.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058782.html

13 Armenian POWs receive 6-year sentences in Azerbaijan

They will return to Armenia after the prison term. It's propped up charges relating "illegal border crossing", etc.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058863.html

update: Russian-Armenian man who claimed he was an Azeri spy receives a 10 years sentence in Azerbaijan

Edward Dubakov's strange story is explained here: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ogge6q/news_jul82021_armenian_pow_claims_he_is_azeri_spy/

He claimed he was recruited as an Azeri spy while in Belarus, and that Azeris arrested him after summoning him to Baku to pay his "salary" in [January] 2021.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/219100

ECHR obliged Azerbaijan to pay a €30,000 compensation to Armenian captive (2009 incident)

The European Court for Human Rights has ruled against Azerbaijan, finding that it illegally held and tortured Arthur Badalyan who got lost and found himself in Azeri territory in 2009.

No one knew his whereabouts for a year until the Red Cross confirmed his location. He was exchanged for an Azeri captive months later.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058829.html

an Armenian civilian safely returns after accidentally crossing the border with Azerbaijan

An Artsakh resident got lost and crossed the border. He returned after negotiations involving Russian peacekeepers.

A similar incident occurred on Gegharkunik borders a few days ago.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058864.html

government held a meeting with private investors

Pashinyan's cabinet held a meeting with private investors who are part of projects assisted by the Economy Ministry's Investor Support Center.

Pashinyan: the purpose of our meeting is to discuss difficulties faced by investors. We need to know where the difficulties come from, the objective or subjective reasons. //

$10 million building complex in Yerevan

The first investment program they discussed was the construction of a new multi-functional center on Yerevan's Azatutyun Avenue. The $10 million projects is expected to create 220 jobs.

The issue faced by the construction company is the existence of a historical-cultural water canal in the area. Yerevan's mayor and Education/Culture Minister were asked to explain the problem. Pashinyan instructed them to prepare a report that includes all the requirements and standards relating to historical-cultural structures and to submit the report to the investor within 10 days. Additionally, the government will amend an earlier ruling to make the information more accessible.

$14 million winery in Lusarat

An investor wants to create a wine factory, Winehouse, a professional stage for performers, and a gallery. The $14m project will have 50 permanent and 500 temporary workers.

The problem is that part of the facility will be on the territory of Hin Artashat geographic area. The National Academy of Sciences said they will need two months to investigate whether that particular area has any historical artifacts.

Pashinyan said it would be unacceptable to build structures if archaeological objects are present. He suggested the investor fund the excavation works, and if it discovers any artifacts, the government will offer them another land for construction, not far away. The investor agreed to fund the excavation.

$160 million revamp of children's railway park

There was a proposal to rebuilt Yerevan's մանկական երկաթուղի park with international standards. The proposal was discussed in the Yerevan municipality but met resistance.

Pashinyan heard both sides' arguments and suggested continuing the work on improving the proposal to come up with a mutually acceptable solution.

$32 million project for cultural sites

The Hin Khndzoresk investment program wants to invest $32m with 400 jobs to restore and preserve the Hin Khndzoresk and Hin Goris cultural sites. The issue is the presence of illegal structures on the site. "We will provide an appropriate solution to that problem," said Pashinyan.

other investment projects

They discussed the proposed construction of a ski complex on Mt. Aragats, a modern hotel complex in Kapan, development of tourism infrastructure near Satan Bridge, construction of a Czech complex center "Grand Bohemia" in Yerevan, etc.

https://factor.am/396479.html

Pashinyan congratulates Kocharyan & Serj alliances

Pashinyan: as certified by the Constitutional Court, the elections were democratic and reflect the will of the people. From the 107 mandates, QP will have 71, HD 29, PU 7.

Congratulations to everyone on the successful elections despite the crisis. Congratulations to HD and PU alliances on their Parliament entry [through metal detectors]. For the first time in history, the elections helped resolve an internal crisis, and not create one.

We are ready to cooperate without hate speech and insults. It's important to note the part where the Constitutional Court addressed the "hate speech" during the campaign. According to the Court, the campaign speech had the purpose of gaining voters' trust.

We are also forming an institute of cooperating with non-parliamentary political parties.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058789.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058790.html

Kapan (Syunik) has turned into an active construction site

The city is renovating several main and secondary roads, as well as residential apartment complex backyards. The backyards will have tiles, benches, new lighting, playgrounds, new green areas.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058778.html

government amended a COVID aid package to include construction companies in Syunik, but there is a catch...

The 1st aid package approved last year was never meant for construction companies but the ones in Syunik will qualify from now on. The goal is to provide "oxygen for 6 months" to struggling businesses so they can overcome the existing debt burden.

The aid is under the condition that the recipient business will turn into a joint-stock company and start implementing corporate governance principles.

The initially planned ֏250m aid budget was increased to ֏1b.

Pashinyan: we're subsidizing their loans. 0% for the first year. Then it becomes a commercial loan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058814.html

government allocates ֏8.9 billion to rebuilt 51km roads

Most of them are near the state borders: Yerevan-Yeraskh-Goris-Meghri-Iran; Yerevan-Sevan-Ijevan-Azerbaijan; Sevan-Martuni-Getap [Nakhijevan]; the Khor Virap road, Artik-Anushavan-Panik; etc.

Pashinyan: the road quality is visibly better these days, but let's be honest, we're not there yet. The standards we proposed in 2018 are on a different level.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058806.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058831.html

Pashinyan about the need to invite foreign construction firms to address the workforce shortage in Armenia:

As part of the election campaign, within the next five years, we must build 2,600km roads, 500 kindergartens, 300 schools, 15 reservoirs (start or finish).

Our analysis shows that local Armenian construction firms do not have the capacity to handle this. We will have to invite foreign companies.

Diasporan Armenian-owned firms will be prioritized. We hope they will bring new construction standards to Armenia.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058815.html

Economy Minister about the workforce shortage in Armenia:

I was joking when I said we should "apprehend and extradite" Armenians working abroad. There are many permanent job positions in Armenia right now.

Those who are trying to find luck abroad should be able to find a good job here, especially in the fields I mentioned yesterday.

We even have a shepherd shortage. People have to bring shepherds from other countries.

Reporter: examples or GTFO.

Minister Qerobyan: Vrezh Vardanyan from Dprabak village can't find a shepherd. He used to hire one for $240/mo [to herd 60 animals] but not this year... Every month we publish a report about online job announcements.

Reporter: will the Armenians who work abroad voluntarily agree to return?

Minister Qerobyan: two of my recently-appointed deputy Ministers had recently returned from Russia and Netherlands. I have advisers from Germany, Switzerland, and Luxemburg who either returned to Armenia or work remotely.

Diasporans help us a lot to reform the Economy Ministry and bring it closer to international standards.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058813.html https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/219131

diasporan experts are volunteering in Armenia

Depi Hayq and the Union of Armenian Volunteers announced that 90 diasporans have arrived in Armenia to work in their fields of expertise.

Engineer Gabriella Mullukyan came from Uruguay to volunteer at an Armenian startup. She is helping to create parts necessary for prosthetics for disabled soldiers.

Engineer Manvel Grigoryan came from France. He wants to serve as an example and motivate the locals.

about the organizations

Depi Hayq is for 21-32-year olds who want to volunteer 30 hours a week for 9-52 weeks.

Union of Armenian Volunteers accepts any volunteer above 21, with a minimum 2-week volunteering task.

Together, they have hosted over 3,000 volunteers from 60 countries.

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/294460/

Yerevan municipality shows no signs of stopping the demolition of illegal structures

The bulldozers reached the Shengavit district.

https://youtu.be/cEsMYZ8vY0E?t=7

Pashinyan about a recent tax reform that exempted micro-businesses:

We implemented a system to help microbusinesses. It gave tax exemption to those with less than $48,000/yr annual turnover.

Sadly, some businesses began abusing the system. Larger ones with $200,000/yr turnover began splitting into smaller entities to act as separate microbusinesses.

We already have an amendment package to address this issue. We should definitely address this.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058798.html

police reforms are gradually expanding to provinces

The newly formed Patrol Service is only active in Yerevan, for now. As part of the ongoing reforms, the police announced a competition to recruit and train new Patrol officials in Lori and Shirak provinces.

There will be a 5-month training course, during which the applicants will receive minimum wage paychecks. Applicants must be at least 5'3", under 35yo, with some education. [basically a Tinder profile]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058801.html

update: court authorizes the arrest of ruling party MP's brother over shooting incident / the other participant also faces charges

Investigators said: Robert Sukiasyan got upset when a driver used a honk and slurs towards his friend's wife. Sukiasyan met the other driver and the latter's friend to settle the dispute.

The conflict escalated into a physical fight. Sukiasyan pulled out a BROWNING 9x17 handgun and fired two shots near the driver's feet, on the ground. He then fired another shot at the driver's friend's foot, striking his calf bone.

Sukiasyan is charged with hooliganism with the use of a firearm (4-7 years maximum). The court has authorized his pre-trial arrest. The investigation continues. //

The police also decided to arrest the other participant (the driver).

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058804.html https://www.arlis.am/documentview.aspx?docid=69646 https://factor.am/396657.html

prosecutors launch a manhunt for Syunik governor's son over alleged shooting involving former governor's son

Karen Poghosyan is the son of Syunik governor Melikset Poghosyan (ruling party appointee). He is wanted for alleged attempted murder and illegal possession of a firearm.

It's over a July 14 incident in Goris in which two residents were wounded during a shooting. The former (HHK) governor Surik "Liska" Khachatryan's son and another relative were present at the scene but were not listed as shootout participants at the time of writing this.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058834.html https://factor.am/396808.html https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/219117

police explains the unusually strict vehicle searches last evening

Public safety and road safety were the main reason for the increased number of cops on the roads. They were searching vehicles entering the capital.

They detained 49 drivers, some of whom had guns, ammo, meth, fake license plates.

https://factor.am/396659.html

Armenia switches back to locally produced electricity again / staying self-sufficient despite unprecedented conditions

The nuclear plant is closed for renovations, Hrazdan's 5th bloc is suspended, Artsakh has lost most of its hydropower potential, there is unprecedented heat that resulted in excessive energy demand... shrugs off.

Armenia has stopped importing electricity from Georgia beginning July 11. Moreover, the country continues to export electricity to neighboring Iran in addition to meeting its internal consumption demand. The electric grid, however, does not rule out importing from Georgia again if they decide it's cheaper.

Infrastructure Ministry: we imported from Georgia briefly for economic reasons because it was cheaper than using gas to power the Hrazdan 5th bloc. Besides that, there is no surplus electricity in Georgia at the moment.

Armenia and Georgia always exchange electricity. Electricity is very expensive in Georgia in the winter. Sometimes we offer them cheaper electricity. This year the public became more aware of this exchange process because of the news about pausing the nuclear plant.

Next month we could once again switch to Georgian electricity if they offer it cheaper than what's produced by Hrazdan thermal. Hrazdan was used as a replacement for nuclear, but it's not as cheap.

We haven't had this kind of situation since 1995 [combination of NPP suspension, etc.]. The electricity demand is unprecedented high (+25%). The extreme heatwaves depleted the water reserves and cut the small hydropower plants' production in half. Unprecedented heat resulted in 150MW less production in thermal plants.

And yet we are able to be self-sufficient today. Right now the issue is with not many reserves being left. We still have a 30MW Spandaryan hydro and 40MW Shambi hydro. Exported electricity is also considered a "reserve". Combined, we have a 120MW reserve. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058776.html

COVID stats

5034 tested. 225 infected. 91 healed. 2 deaths. 3790 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058785.html

Armenia is no exemption... COVID cases are rising

Sadly, տատիկի դաչայում քաշած mulberry vodka doesn't help :(

Healthcare Ministry: we see a small trend in recent days. The growth will continue. Of the 3790 patients, 660 are in hospitals, 228 in serious condition, 48 in critical.

I urge you to get a vaccine before the next wave starts. The situation is tense in the whole region. They have fewer deaths in countries with high vaccination rates.

The good news is, the daily vaccination numbers have surpassed 5k in Armenia.

Pashinyan: prepare a report that shows how many of the vaccinated are locals, and how many are tourists.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058796.html

Puppet Theater will launch a tour in border villages and Artsakh

They will perform your favorite "Sutlik Vorskane" and "Ankhelq Marde". The experts will teach locals how to make dolls. It's part of the Education Ministry's campaign to help border residents to cope after the war.

State Song Theatre will also travel to Artsakh and border regions during Arno Babajanyan's 100-anniversary campaign. And so will Jazz players.

More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058807.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058812.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058818.html

Tokyo Olympics schedule: here is when Armenians compete

It starts tomorrow at 3:00 pm Yerevan time.

July 24: the first Armenian will compete. Athlete Arthur Davtyan will attempt to pass the qualification round at 5:00 am.

July 25: boxer Hovhannes Bachkov competes at 7:15 am. Shooter Elmira Karapetyan will compete in the 10-meter.

July 26: boxers Koryun Soghomonyan and Arman Darchinyan will attempt to proceed to the next round at 6:00 am. Judoist Ferdinand Karapetyan also plays at 6:00 am.

July 27: 59kg female weightlifter Isabella Yalyan. Swimmer Arthur Barseghyan in a 100-meter competition at 2:00 pm.

July 28: swimmer Varsenik Manucharyan in the 50-meter freestyle at 2:00 pm.

July 30: swimmer Arthur Barseghyan returns for the second round, this time for 50-meter freestyle, at 2:00 pm.

August 1: Greco-roman madlads wrestlers begin. 60kg Armen Melikyan at 6:00 am.

August 2: wrestlers Arthur Aleksanyan, Karapet Chalyan will begin from 1/8th round at 6:30 am. The following day they will compete for a ticket to the finale.

August 3: athlete Levon Aghasyan in the triple jump. Wrestler Karen Aslanyan in 1/8th round.

August 4: freestyle wrestler Arsen Harutyunyan at 11:30 am.

August 6: freestyle wrestler Vazgen Tevanyan in 1/8th finale.

[the schedule is subject to change as we learn more about who succeeds and who fails]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058780.html

Tags: #OlympicSchedule

ooooof... grandmaster Martirosyan scored another victory in Chess World Cup

Hayk played against the Croat opponent and won with whites. The second match is tomorrow.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058865.html

first total artificial heart successfully transplanted in the U.S.

It has four chambers and runs on external power.

https://interestingengineering.com/first-total-artificial-heart-successfully-transplanted-in-the-us

today in history

1910: Lev Tolstoy's manuscripts are destroyed by fire in Yasnaya Polyana.

1918: the first assembly of Armenians of Karabakh is convened in Shushi. It declares Karabakh a separate administrative and political entity with its own government. The declaration emphasized Karabakh's friendly attitude towards the democratic forces of other peoples and their right to self-determination.

http://www.nkr.am/en/azerbaijan-karabakh-conflict-history https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058761.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/opl4nd/news_jul222021_construction_boom_production_of/

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