2021 July 26

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Daily news wrap-up

News recap - Jul/26/2021: Armenia wants Moderna & vaccine lotteries; WHO to increase aid __ Soldiers recall incident that started Nakhijevan shootout __ Artsakh responds to Aliyev __ Investment Support Center __ 2020 investigation soon __ Anti-corruption busts __ Archaeology __ Hospital modernized
by ar_david_hh

Your 15-minute Saturday to Monday recap in 3709 words.

Armenia has been negotiating with U.S. government to obtain Moderna

Healthcare Minister Avanesyan: we met Moderna co-founder Noubar Afeyan recently and spoke about the negotiations between AM and US administrations. Our efforts must be combined to achieve results. Right now, private businesses have their hands tied up. The distribution depends on governments. We hope to succeed in the near future.


COVID stats between Saturday to Monday

17,324 tested. 528 infected. 372 healed. 11 deaths. 4037 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058978.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059018.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059048.html

COVID cases are rising in Armenia and across the world

In Armenia, its rise is so far gradual and not sharp, said the Healthcare Minister, who warned about a possible new wave in the first half of Autumn.

Armenia has not recorded the Indian "Delta" variant yet but the Minister believes it's already in Armenia because of open borders with Russia and Georgia. [Update: the media later reported the first instance of Delta in Armenia.]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059091.html https://youtu.be/5dK8CjIOKMY

Georgia recorded 2.6k daily infections on Monday alone / bed shortage in capital Tbilisi

23 deaths on Sunday alone.

https://factor.am/397596.html https://factor.am/397611.html

vaccine lottery promises freebies / new restrictions expected in August

Healthcare Minister: very soon the vaccinated patients will have a chance to win tickets to Opera, theaters, museums, cultural festivals.

We are also working on a package to introduce restrictions. It will be published in the second half of August for public discussion.

COVID is a danger to public safety. Countries where it gets out of control often find themselves on the brink of collapse, and not just medical collapse.


there have been 153k vaccinations in Armenian so far

109k first, 44k second.


WHO will increase COVID aid to Armenia

Minister Avanesyan met international colleagues and representatives of WHO during a medical conference in Greece. They discussed the vaccination campaign in Armenia and the possibility to receive more vaccines as aid.

The Ministry emphasized the need for countries to have access to vaccines within a specific window, when necessary. For this, there is a need for countries to 'swap' vaccines or to 'borrow' them from each other, depending on available supplies in each country.

The WHO representative expressed satisfaction with the reforms being carried out in Armenia's healthcare sector and expressed confidence that the AM-WHO cooperation will become more intense from now on, and that WHO will increase the volume of donations to Armenia.


border news

On Friday night, the Defense Ministry reported "stopping a drone intrusion attempt" on the southwestern borders.

On Saturday, on the eastern Gegharkunik borders, an early-morning ceasefire violation took a cow's life.

Iran's MFA expressed regret over the deaths and injuries on both sides amid recent shootouts and urged both sides to immediately restore peace in the South Caucasus. Iran offered to help with the peace process.

On Monday, the Defense Ministry reported that Azeris opened fire at Armenian positions on Gegharkunik borders at 3:30 am. Armenia returned fire to silence it.

Around 11:30 am Azeris violated the ceasefire on Yeraskh Nakhijevan borders. Armenian army took countermeasures.

Turkey's ruling party representative warned Armenia, basically saying Armenia is following Russian orders while shooting the borders, and that Russia won't come in aid "if Armenia receives a response", and that "Armenia has a chance to become part of a different mechanism."

Local authorities in Armenian provinces later denied media reports that claimed Azeris opened fire at the direction of Armash and Surenavan settlements not far from Yeraskh [Nakhijevan border].

The U.S. ambassador Tracey visited the Gegharkunik border near Verin Shorzha. She was briefed on the situation. The ambassador said the U.S. expects both sides to return to the Minsk Group negotiating table ASAP. OSCE released a similar message.

Azerbaijan accused Armenia of intentionally avoiding the border demarcation process. Armenia had earlier announced that there will be no demarcation-delimitation for as long as Azeri troops illegally occupy the Armenian territories in Gegharkunik and Syunik.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059066.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058964.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1058977.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059009.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059087.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059117.html https://factor.am/397419.html https://factor.am/398009.html https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/294576/

Armenian soldiers about the Nakhijevan border provocation that kickstarted the recent shootout

Azeri troops moved their troops and engineering equipment forward in an attempt to install new positions near Yeraskh, while shooting at Armenian positions.

Armenian soldiers: they used engineering equipment in an attempt to cut us off from the rear, but they failed. We prevented their engineering works by opening fire... The shots continued in the morning and at night; we silenced their shots... We kept all of our positions. //

Azeris then resumed the fire in the early morning of July 20 and attempted to use engineering equipment again but failed to do so after Armenians returned fire from different directions. Most Armenian soldiers in this location are experienced contractors.

Armenian soldiers: we are one unit. We are all friends. We have night vision equipment and we can see the opponent's movements in their rear.

https://youtu.be/ZY-D06cSJXc https://factor.am/397569.html

Artsakh resident returns after accidentally crossing the border in south-east

A 32yo shepherd from Martuni region's Machkalashen village accidentally found himself in territories controlled by Azerbaijan, where he was briefly detained and beaten. The Russian peacekeepers brought him back.

Artsakh MOD later denied social media rumors claiming shootout in Qashatag and Martuni borders.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059090.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059109.html https://factor.am/398022.html https://factor.am/398126.html

Artsakh population has reached 120,000 despite Azerbaijan's ethnic cleansing attempts

Labor Minister of Artsakh: Ilham Aliyev claimed that only 25,000 Armenians live in Artsakh so the topic of a referendum "is not logical to discuss". He essentially acknowledges that it's the Armenian population of Artsakh that plays a decisive role in the determination of Artsakh's legal status.

Immediately after the war, thanks to the exceptional will and dedication of the Artsakh population, their return was organized very quickly. At present, more than 120,000 Armenians live in Artsakh.


Artsakh State Minister Beglaryan responds to Aliyev's recent speech

Minister: the President of Azerbaijan is falsifying history. Artsakh has been Armenian for millenniums and will forever remain as such thanks to our national will and effort.

Aliyev's aim is to mislead the international audience. Many "Aliyevs" have come and gone throughout centuries but Armenian Artsakh will always remain standing.

First. Aliyev is correct that there is no such thing called Nagorno Karabakh in Azerbaijani territories. Yes, Nagorno Karabakh is outside Azerbaijan and has never been part of it.

Second. Aliyev's claims about the status of Artsakh are manifestations of self-deception and lies, because, despite the existing difficulties and losses, Artsakh Republic continues to function fully just as it did before the war. We have well-established state institutions and attributes, and an unbreakable will to develop them. Artsakh and its people will never be part of Azerbaijan, be it de facto or de jure.

Third. Another lie was the claim that only 25,000 people live in Artsakh today. The actual population is around 120,000. The interesting part here is the context of his statement because he accepts that the fate of Artsakh depends on the people of Artsakh.

Fourth. Aliyev correctly stated that Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast was an artificial union, but he falsified history and claimed that it was formed as an act against Azerbaijan while ignoring the fact that it was Armenians' option that was ignored when Karabakh was forcefully attached to Azerbaijan.

The reality is that the conflict began before USSR. Unfair decisions were made in the early stages of the USSR, against the will of the Armenian population of Artsakh. Therefore, it's inappropriate to look at the conflict as something that began in 1988. The legal-historical facts must be taken into account.

Not only was Artsakh forcefully attached to Azerbaijan in 1921, but throughout Soviet history until 1988 its borders were greatly reduced. In 1928, it lost its border with Armenia. The demographics were artificially altered. With his speech, Aliyev essentially accepts the need to take into account the origins of the conflict.

Fifth: if Armenians were "newcomers" to Artsakh in the beginning of the 19th century, then who were invaders Fanah and Ibrahim khans fighting against? Who destroyed the Ottoman forces in Artsakh in the early 18th century? What language is used in Gandzasar and Dadivank medieval instructions? Were all the medieval foreign historians bribed?


nuclear plant renovations are on schedule

If everything goes as planned, the renovations will finish within two months and extend NPP's life until 2036.


Armenia appoints new ambassadors to Egypt, Turkmenistan, Cuba, Colombia, and Bolivia


Investment Support Center (Enterprise Armenia)

... started its work in February 2020. Its goal is to remove investment barriers. Around 600 investors have so far contacted them for help.

Q: what do you offer? Why should investors contact you?

ISC director: the government created us as a "one window" for the investor to contact to receive information about the investment field, regulations, how to start a business in Armenia.

A foreign investor approaches us, presents their investment program, then we draw the roadmap, inform them on how to launch an Ltd and register it, peculiarities of various locations, etc.

We don't stop communicating with the investor. We walk them through the journey with the goal of making them reinvest. It's normal that businesses often do not know whom to contact. That's what we are here for. It doesn't matter if it's $1,000 or $100,000,000. We help investors of any size.

Q: have the investors' uncertainties disappeared after the elections?

ISC is an apolitical structure. Sure, some of them had concerns, but the difference wasn't big. Yes, there is more movement after the elections, but large investors have strong analytical skills and often realize that such political issues don't matter.

Q: how many investment programs exist in your center? How big are they?

600 investors contacted us to receive consulting. Some of them received it and went back to analyze it. Others need financial resources. Enterprise Armenia has helped 70 projects worth $1.5 billion. Twenty of them have already begun with a $220 million budget.

Q: what are the most popular areas of investments?

Tourism, processing industry, agriculture, textile, and house construction.

Q: are they mostly locals or foreigners?

Both. Everyone needs help.

Q: you met Pashinyan recently to discuss investment barriers. Are the problems fixable?

Some issues were caused artificially but sometimes investors don't know how the rules work. Sometimes we are forced to respond slower due to the high volume of applications. Beurocracy can play a role. Other times we need a political decision to be made. During the meeting, Pashinyan gave clear instructions around some projects; we will see the results very soon.

Q: what did Pashinyan say?

To identify the issues faced by investors and report them to the government. Another task is to carry out information campaigns abroad to attract foreign investors. We have signed memorandums with foreign counterparts and launched discussions with foreign diplomatic channels.

Another duty is to get in touch with foreign investors in Armenia, whether they have problems or not.

Q: they often say that investors skip Armenia because of a small market. How do you attract them?

It's a small market but it depends on the investor's production volume. Besides that, Armenia is an EAEU member that opens the door to an enormous market without some customs duties and taxes. We encourage investors to invest in export-oriented production in Armenia.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/219112 https://www.primeminister.am/en/press-release/item/2020/02/24/Nikol-Pashinyan-Investment-Support-Center/

archaeological excavations will be carried out in the historical capital Artashat

A private investor plans to build a $14 million winery and adjacent infrastructure near Lusarat (Ararat) settlement but was stopped by the authorities over the historical significance of the location. Experts believe there might be artifacts underneath. The investor accepted the government's offer to finance excavation works before any construction begins.

Today a memorandum was signed between the government and the private sector to excavate the aforementioned territories of ancient Artashat.

Education/Culture Ministry: this is an important agreement. It is not possible to carry out full excavations with state resources alone. It is more difficult to ensure the preservation and conservation of the layers of the discovered monuments. In this regard, the need for private investment is extremely important.


Малышка (Vayots Dzor) village hall and cultural center will have solar panels on their roofs

... and new asphalt in inner roads, as part of a federal-local subsidy program.


Pashinyan and non-parliamentary parties held the first consultative assembly meeting

The idea was formed after the June 20 elections when Pashinyan met smaller parties and expressed the need to hear their voices because they represent a significant portion of the population.

The meeting was attended by Hanrapetutyun's Aram Sargsyan, Azatakan's Samvel Babayan, and others. There will be more meetings soon.

The non-parliamentary parties will be involved in the upcoming Parliamentary investigation of the 2020 war.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059008.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059119.html

anti-corruption: NSS uncovers 2012-2019 embezzlement by school officials

NSS report says: a combined ֏41.8 million were embezzled by officials working at Shirak's Artik N1 school and Sambo-Judo Youth Center.

Artik N1 director conspired with the accountant to falsify documents and embezzle ֏23.8 million by registering nine fake employees and deducing their salaries from the budget.

The 2001-2019 directors of Gyumri's Sambo-Judo center conspired with the accountant to register ten fake employees to steal ֏18 million from the budget.

Felony charges are pressed against the officials. //


anti-corruption blunder: the Supreme Court drops an investigation against its chief over improperly filed paperwork

Supreme Court Vardazaryan was required to disclose his property ownership. He declared ~9 million income plus a few properties in 2018, and the following few years.

The Corruption Prevention Committee examined his bank records and concluded that something was fishy. The judge was asked to explain, but he allegedly refused, so the CPC asked the Supreme Court Council to discipline him.

Today the Supreme Court decided not to discipline the judge because CPC violated some document filing deadlines.

[Gavin Newsom would like to know your location... and your political affiliation.]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059093.html https://factor.am/397895.html https://youtu.be/4qTmXoblI6w

anti-corruption: Nature Ministry uncovers illegal mining in Armavir

Ministry said: unknown individuals conducted unauthorized mining of sand/gravel materials in Armavir's Getashen settlement. The 69k m^3 extraction worth ֏17 million has lead to land degradation and damage to the fertile layer of soil. The findings are transferred to prosecutors.


$5 million funding to develop eco-friendly businesses in Armenia

The European bank and ACBA bank will run a program to encourage energy efficiency and climate change adaptation in the Armenian business sector. The latter will have access to solar energy, more energy-efficient transportation, construction equipment, engines, and pumps.


the new Police Patrol will revamp the vehicle exterior after complaints

The /r/Armenia moderators [shout out] are not the only grammar Mussolinis who fume whenever they see transliterated text - there is an entire state agency called Language Committee dedicated just for that.

The Committee complained that the new Police vehicles had bad logos and exterior design. The Police responded saying the new design was chosen through a proper competition but they will redesign it to address the complaints, including the presence of "too many" words in Latin letters.

the new Police: we have certain standards. Every country follows these standards. Our primary task is to serve the Armenian public and the citizens of foreign countries who cannot read Armenian text.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059061.html https://youtu.be/_u1stI9SPQQ

update: more details about the expansion of the police reforms across Armenia

Last week we learned that the new Police Patrol Service is recruiting applicants in Shirak and Lori provinces, after completing the process in Yerevan and launching the service on July 7.

Police said: the service is expanding. The number of officers will increase in Yerevan, while Shirak and Lori will join the project and have the new service within nine months. Each of them will recruit 257 offices with 77 being female. Yerevan will hire another 55 (16 female).

The 18-35yo recruits will undergo a 5-month academy training. To qualify for one, they must pass a physical and general development test, knowledge test, psychological evaluation, etc.

The demand is high (3 applicants for 1 position) because they want to be part of the newly reformed system, earn higher salaries (minimum ֏230k or $480), have better equipment.

The newly reformed laws clearly define what the police officer is allowed and not allowed to do, what tools to use under certain circumstances.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059081.html https://factor.am/397772.html

Affordable Housing for Young Families / mortgage subsidy program will have a bigger budget

The program was founded in 2010 to help low-income young families obtain housing. The Ministry says the number of applicants has significantly increased in 2018-2019 after the rules were amended to qualify more families.

For example, the definition of a "young family" was changed to "any family where the combined age of spouses does not exceed 70 [increased], or a family with a single young parent."

The number of annual applicants had reached 1196 by 2019. Last year's pandemic caused it to drop to 881. Over 6,000 families have so far taken advantage of the program.

the budget

2021: ֏1.3b

2022: ֏1.7b

2023: ֏2.1b

2024: ֏2.4b

Mortgage details: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059072.html

Lebanese-Armenian barber Grigor moved to Armenia in 2019

He plans to stay and work there. Months after his arrival, the pandemic and then the war began. It was difficult for his business but he pulled through.

A month after the war, an old man entered his barbershop and asked if he could come over to a hospital and give a haircut to recovering soldiers for a fee. Grigor agreed to do it, but for free.

He met fellow barbers in the hospital. There were days when he would help eight patients.


update: the dude has finally found a shepherd

Last week the Economy Minister went viral after claiming that a villager in Dprabak was looking to hire shepherds from abroad because he couldn't find one in Armenia.

Vrezh from Dprabak has finally found a shepherd [from Armenia]. Minister Qerobyan went to meet them and take a picture. "Չկա աղմուկ առանց բարիք:"


Russian peacekeepers participated in a ceremony dedicated to the 325th anniversary of the Russian Navy

The peacekeepers and locals gathered in Artsakh capital Stepanakert and paid tribute to Soviet-Armenian admiral Hovhannes Isakov. There is a statue and a road named after the WW2 hero.


Soccer Federation will rebuild the Vanadzor stadium

HFF published photos of the planned redesign of the pitch and its adjacent infrastructure.


Tokyo Olympics

Gymnast Arthur Dalaloyan won the Olympics gold medal under the Russian flag.

Elmira Karapetyan represented Armenia in women's 10-meter air pistol. She was unable to advance to the final round and finished 53rd.

European boxing champion Hovhannes Bachkov began the Olympics with a victory.

Gymnast Arthur Davtyan was unable to pass the qualification round. Update: he failed to advance in pommel horse competition but succeeded in the pole vault competition.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059011.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059013.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059110.html https://factor.am/397437.html https://factor.am/397605.html

president Sarkissian discussed the use of Artificial Intelligence during a meeting with YAMAHA reps.

He is in Tokyo to watch the Olympics. Instrument maker YAMAHA and Sarkissian spoke about the use of AI in equipment, a possible cooperation and activities in Armenia.


Henrikh Mkhitaryan and coach Jose Mourinho will get long (maybe)

Heno and Jose used to be in Manchester United where they did not get along. Heno was later transferred to Roma. He recently learned that Jose was offered the job of Roma's coach. They will be together again.

Heno said he wants to forget the past and work with the coach. He praised Jose's skills.


Chess World Cup: Hayk Martirosyan plays 1:1 against Iranian opponent

The young grandmaster played with blacks against the Iranian opponent and secured a victory in the 61st step. He then lost while playing with whites. There will be two rapid tie-breaker matches.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059030.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059125.html

Armenian students win five medals in 62nd Math Olympiad


public bus drivers will no longer be allowed to turn the driver's cabin into a gypsy bazaar

Some drivers love hanging toys, religious items, custom curtains, and even criminal culture caricatures in the cabin and the windshield. The Yerevan municipality warned them not to have anything other than posts containing information for passengers.


video: Noyemberyan is celebrating Vardavar later than other parts of Armenia

There is a story...


Tavush will host its version of the "Yerevan Wine Days" festival to attract tourists

Organizer EventToura says the September 4 event is held in Tavush for the first time. The goal is to promote tourism in general, rather than promote wine made in Tavush. Ijevan town is likely to be chosen as the location.

The visitors will have a chance to attend galleries and art exhibitions hosted on the festival site. The festival will be held in a different settlement every year to promote the entire province.


St. Gregory Illuminator hospital underwent capital repairs and purchased new equipment

Pashinyan and Healthcare Minister Avanesyan went to the hospital to familiarize themselves with the works that began in 2019, when the government signed a decree to purchase a 3D neurosurgical navigator, MRI, CT, endoscopic equipment, modern surgery tables, and lighting.

In April of 2020, the hospital began treating only COVID patients. They treated 17,000 residents, 70% of whom were in serious or critical condition.

One of the surgery rooms has been converted into a birthing room with doppler equipment, etc.

A new resuscitation department was built with 40 beds. Nine surgery rooms were rebuilt. The diagnostic department was equipped with fully digital remote-controlled radiographic-fluoroscopic systems.

To better treat COVID, the hospital's lab was supplied with automatic analyzers of blood electrolytes and gases, PCR equipment, etc.

The facility's sewers and the backyard are also undergoing renovation. A helicopter landing pad was built to receive patients from provinces.

A design change will no longer require patients to travel through different floors for examinations - everything will be done in one department.

Photos: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059088.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1059076.html https://youtu.be/HI6u5Jsgu2w

the economic activity index has increased by 5% in the first 6 months

+8% in June 2021 vs June 2020.

+5% in 1H2021 vs 1H2020, more specifically...

Industrial production +2.1%

Agriculture +6.8%

Construction +10.8%

Trade +8%

Foreign trade +13.4% (+20% in June)

Exports +23.3%

Imports +7.8%

Services +2.7%

Electricity production +0.5%

Consumer price index +5.7%


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/os8xhm/news_recap_jul262021_armenia_wants_moderna/

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