2021 March 16
- 1 Daily news wrap-up
- 2 draft bill: army dodgers will get another chance to return to Armenia
- 3 army could change the uniforms
- 4 iGorts 2021 / government is hiring diasporan experts again
- 5 Russian railway and Economy Minister discuss projects / industrial hub
- 6 update: India wants to use Armenia as a transit country for North-South project
- 7 March 1st: Kocharyan trial is delayed again
- 8 INTERPOL vs March 1st suspect Kostanyan
- 9 Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde visits Armenia
- 10 rumors & rebuttals: military budget
- 11 Army begins the large-scale military exercises
- 12 prominent Azeri generals are arrested
- 13 the latest landmine explosion in occupied territories
- 14 European Parliament condemns Turkey for hiring Syrian mercenaries in Artsakh war
- 15 Human Rights Watch: New evidence of torture and inhumane treatment of civilians by Azerbaijani forces emerges
- 16 Japan will help border population avoid landmines
- 17 Artsakh parliament sends delegation to Moscow
- 18 Artsakh churchgoers visit Dadivank and Amaras monasteries
- 19 Stepanakert birth clinic is being renovated after being bombed by Azerbaijan during the war
- 20 520 Artsakh businesses receive ֏197m worth tax waivers
- 21 stats: aid packages for Artsakh residents
- 22 students are building drones and robots
- 23 stats: free stroke and heart surgeries / reproductive and screening services
- 24 COVID stats
- 25 no plans to increase restrictions... yet
- 26 COVID vaccination continues in Armenia
- 27 symphony orchestra has a music clip dedicated to doctors
- 28 stats: COVID aid packages
- 29 bill: harsher punishment for banks that violate consumer lending rules
- 30 Central Bank about the economy, banking, inflation, loans, deposits
- 31 death rate in prisons dropped by 4x
- 32 Lori ragequits national soccer league
- 33 Alexander Tamanyan - the Yerevan architect (storytime)
- 34 approved: Yerevan will have Master Chess Sports School
- 35 Yerevan sells recycled materials sorted by residents
- 36 today in history
- 37 donations to Artsakh & recovering soldiers
- 38 archive of older news
- 39 disclaimer
- 40 Support David's Daily Armenia News Summaries!
Daily news wrap-up
Mar/16/2021: (1) Bill: army dodgers could return (2) iGorts for diasporans (3) Railway & industrial hub in Gyumri (4) Europe criticizes Turkey over use of Syrian jihadists in Artsakh (5) March 1st, Seyran, INTERPOL (6) Mil. exercise & reforms (7) Yerevan architect (8) Stats: aid, banking, healthcare
Your 13-minute Tuesday report in 3240 words.
draft bill: army dodgers will get another chance to return to Armenia
Parliamentary Security Committee chief Andranik: regarding the draft bill about those who have already turned 27 and want to return to Armenia but have army issues.
The Justice Ministry approved the bill proposed by us. I hope that by the end of this month the government will approve and send it to Parliament.
This isn't the bill that was earlier proposed by Hayrapetyan-Babajanyan-myself. This is much more comprehensive.
Everyone will be given a chance to return to Armenia and resolve their pending felony cases.
army could change the uniforms
The smell of the Soviet Union comes from the current uniforms, even Russia has been changing them, said QP MP Andranik Kocharyan today. "The person inside the uniform is important, but so is the uniform. It has to be presentable. It forms the attitude." They are discussing uniforms as part of wider army reform.
iGorts 2021 / government is hiring diasporan experts again
A program called iGorts was launched in 2020. It's the first-ever initiative to invite experienced volunteer diasporans to work at government agencies to make Armenia great again. 51 diasporans are currently working in 19 agencies.
It's time for the second round, says Diaspora Committee. Applications are accepted in Armenian, Russian, and English.
Interview with Hayk Margaryan, one of the iGorts participants working at the Economy Ministry agency:
Russian railway and Economy Minister discuss projects / industrial hub
Minister Qerobyan met South Caucasus Railways chief Alexei Melnikov. The Russian company has the exclusive license to operate the Armenian railway network.
The company informed about their plans to import new electric trains and wagons that are more convenient for passengers. They should arrive by June.
The railways raised several issues regarding sanitation schedule, short hours at customs facility, and a possible government subsidy for transporting passengers.
Minister Qerobyan presented the plans to build a "Dry Port" in Gyumri and an "Industrial Park" in Ararat. It's a proposal to create an industrial hub for manufacturers to build products and ship them to Russia and EAEU bloc, partly through railways.
Melnikov found the idea interesting and said Gyumri railways have the capacity for it.
Qerobyan asked if the railways can also transport trucks and vehicles, as requested by Armenian businesses. Melnikov said they'll negotiate with the businesses individually.
bullet trains WHEN bro?
Qerobyan: it would be nice if we have super-fast trains. That would sharply increase tourism.
Melnikov: you wish. The area is too mountainous and the project is expensive, but it's theoretically possible. (AT LEAST HE TRIED, 10/10)
update: India wants to use Armenia as a transit country for North-South project
Last week we learned that India plans another trade route to Europe, and that they're interested in connecting Iran to Armenia for transit.
Today the Deputy PM Avinyan met Indian ambassador Kishan Dewal to discuss AM-IN relations and the proposed Indian trade route. Avinyan informed about the similarly named North-South Armenian highway project that connects south (Iran) to the north (Georgia). Avinyan said these highways could be used for trade. They also spoke about the possible unblocking of regional railway routes. "You may consider Armenia as a transit hub to Russia and Europe."
The two also discussed POWs and the need to increase AM-IN trade volume.
Tags: #TradeRoute #India #NorthSouthTrade
March 1st: Kocharyan trial is delayed again
Co-defendant Seyran Ohanyan tested negative for COVID, but is still in a hospital and couldn't attend the trial. Knowing that Seyran wouldn't attend today, Kocharyan decided to skip the session, too.
Kocharyan and co-defendants are charged with toppling the Constitutional Order in 2008 by using the army against civilians.
Kocharyan's lawyer informed the judge that on March 23rd, the Constitutional Court will hear a petition filed by Kocharyan to decide whether Law 300.1 is Constitutional or not. That's the law that is being used against Kocharyan and Co. If the Constitutional Court strikes it down, the heaviest charges with the longest possible prison sentence could be dropped.
INTERPOL vs March 1st suspect Kostanyan
Former General Prosecutor Gevorg Kostanyan was earlier charged with tempering with March 1st evidence (replacing military bullet shells with civilian ones, coordinating a coverup action between agencies, etc.). Kostanyan is currently sheltering in Russia.
An opposition Ind. MP has learned today that INTERPOL removed Kostanyan from the wanted list back in April-2020 because they concluded his case doesn't meet INTERPOL's Article 3 requirements, which has a political/military/religious context. The Ind. MP describes it as "INTERPOL deciding that Kostanyan is being politically persecuted."
Prosecutors responded to MP: the MP distorted the circumstances of the specific case and the scope of INTERPOL's powers, and took advantage of the general public's lack of knowledge about the subject to spread a "scandalous revelation".
Per INTERPOL regulations, it is not a body responsible in the field of criminal justice, which the MP apparently isn't aware of. INTERPOL does not examine details and facts about individual cases and does not rule whether the accusations against the suspect are justified. It only ensures cooperation between various law enforcement agencies.
INTERPOL is an independent agency, and to "prove" that, they often make decisions to suspend cases relating to former/current public officials in various countries, in this case also in Armenia. However, Article 3 states that by doing so, INTERPOL does not give a verdict on the validity of the charges. This isn't the first such incident, as the MP made it sound like.
It's important to note that the courts have ruled on "reasonable doubt" on three occasions, and every time they found the charges against Kostanyan to be credible. His case went through Lower, Appeals, and Cassations courts.
Moreover, when the Russian authorities decided not to arrest him, his lawyers attempted to use that as a defense in courts, but it was struck down. //
Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde visits Armenia
MFA Linde: Sweden wants to deepen the ties with Armenia. This is reflected in our decision to appoint a direct resident representative in Yerevan. I'm impressed by the democratic reforms that began in Armenia.
We witnessed in the past few weeks how fragile it can be (referring to coup threat). I urge all sides to resolve disputes peacefully while respecting democratic values and commitments to OSCE. //
She discussed the POW and other topics with MFA Ayvazyan.
Linde then met Artsakh MFA David Babayan in Yerevan. The latter emphasized the need to include Artsakh in the negotiation process.
Linde met Pashinyan and discussed the Artsakh negotiations. Pashinyan emphasized the need to clarify Artsakh's legal status and to respect the population's right to self-determination.
More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1046147.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1046149.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1046150.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1046167.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1046212.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1046224.html
rumors & rebuttals: military budget
Deputy PM Mher denied rumors that they plan to slash the military budget. "We are discussing the efficiency of various programs." Some programs will shrink, while others will grow.
Army begins the large-scale military exercises
As announced last week, the army began the first phase of exercises that will involve 7,500 troops and 400 units of artillery, vehicles, air defense, jets, etc.
prominent Azeri generals are arrested
National Hero Lt.Gen. Rovshan Askerov, the commander of the 4th Army Corps, is arrested. He is accused of deliberately murdering Azeri businessman Elchin Aliyev in Ukraine in 2001.
Maj.Gen. Khagani Jabrayilov was also arrested, per Azeri media reports. He was the commander of the 3rd Army Corps who was allegedly fired during the war.
the latest landmine explosion in occupied territories
An Azeri man, three of his children, and his grandchild exploded on a landmine while visiting lands occupied by Azerbaijan. One of them died. It started when two of them stepped on a landmine, and when the others came for aid, the second explosion occurred.
European Parliament condemns Turkey for hiring Syrian mercenaries in Artsakh war
They have a resolution regarding the Syrian conflict. Turkey's recruitment of jihadists from Syria was part of it. They confirmed that "Turkey transported mercenaries to Nagorno Karabakh" and called it a "violation of international law."
Human Rights Watch: New evidence of torture and inhumane treatment of civilians by Azerbaijani forces emerges
Japan will help border population avoid landmines
Ambassador Yamada met the Defense Ministry to discuss an aid program that raises awareness among the local population about landmines. 38K students and 2K adults will benefit.
A special emergency vehicle was donated to provide rapid aid to sappers in the event of an accident.
Artsakh parliament sends delegation to Moscow
... to participate in a genocide-themed conference attended by socio-political figures and academics.
Artsakh churchgoers visit Dadivank and Amaras monasteries
... accompanied by Russian peacekeepers. The two monasteries are located near the border between Artsakh and Azerbaijan.
Stepanakert birth clinic is being renovated after being bombed by Azerbaijan during the war
4 construction companies are tasked with undoing the structural and communication damage. It should be ready by Summer.
520 Artsakh businesses receive ֏197m worth tax waivers
These are businesses that operated in areas that are now under Azeri control.
stats: aid packages for Artsakh residents
As part of one of the aid packages, 31K Artsakh residents who had their homes occupied by Azeris have received ֏300k each, totaling $17.7m.
Another 4.6K residents received ֏250k each for having their homes damaged, totaling $2.2m.
The government has spent $47.4m (֏25b) so far on 15 aid packages for Artsakh. Another $57m will be spent soon.
Tags: #ArtsakhAid #AidPackage
students are building drones and robots
Mechatronics is one of the main subjects at the Yerevan State College of Informatics. They build robots for space, medical, and automation use.
Hayk and his team created a robot controlled by a smartphone, while a 3D printer assembled by them creates the parts used in the drones.
Several private companies are cooperating with the college to accept interns for hands-on experience and job training. So far, up to 40% of graduates find a job in the relevant profession.
stats: free stroke and heart surgeries / reproductive and screening services
In 2019 the government made stroke and heart surgeries free. Healthcare Ministry says 2266 heart and 390 stroke surgeries were made in 2020.
Reproductive assistance services are being provided in 186 instead of 38 border areas. Over 60 children were born thanks to this program; the project isn't being utilized at a full capacity yet.
Besides making cancer surgeries free, an expensive atrastazumat (transliterated) medication was also made free recently. Patients no longer have to pay the $10,000 price tag.
Children's mental health services were created in 2020 in Avan Center.
Several screening programs were made available for children in rural areas to prevent future disabilities.
3242 tested. 585 infected. 292 healed. 12 deaths. 8469 active.
No new strains of COVID have been observed in Armenia so far
no plans to increase restrictions... yet
Healthcare Ministry plans to "use the existing restrictions more efficiently" instead of introducing new ones, for now.
COVID vaccination continues in Armenia
300 medical workers took Sputnik-V so far. Armenia is waiting for the next available batch.
The Healthcare Ministry is monitoring news about possible side effects caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine.
symphony orchestra has a music clip dedicated to doctors
stats: COVID aid packages
֏25b was spent on 11 aid packages approved by the government after the pandemic. Most of it was about saving and adding jobs, aid for low-income residents, utility subsidies, etc. Around 1 million residents received some benefits.
bill: harsher punishment for banks that violate consumer lending rules
Banks currently pay $200 to $1000 fines to Central Bank for lending rule violations. QP MPs drafted a bill to increase penalties ~three-fold.
Central Bank about the economy, banking, inflation, loans, deposits
Central Bank (CB) kept the refinancing rate at 5.5%. The earlier 2% economic growth prediction was revised to 1.4%. The services sector performed poorly in 4Q20 and early 2021.
The banks forgave ֏2b (+1b soon) in loans taken by families of those who died in the war. There is, apparently, a law that requires the banks to do so. In turn, the banks are allowed to claim some amount of tax deductions for the forgiven loans, but not at the full amount.
CB expects the product prices to increase due to the ongoing global trends. "The 12-month inflation will soon stabilize around 4%." The CB Board does not expect inflationary effects from the domestic economy.
The volume of loans issued to individuals increased by 9.4% in February YoY, and by 11.3% to businesses: a total of ֏375b. "Our discussions with banks reveal that the government aid packages played a significant role in that growth, accounting for ֏160b of it."
After a period of reduction of bank deposits held by residents, the deposit volume began increasing again. "Even after a 7.6% economic reduction in 2020 with reduced personal incomes, today we see standard bank account closure rates, and an increase in deposit volumes."
More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1046214.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1046148.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1046192.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1046195.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1046216.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1046225.html ,
death rate in prisons dropped by 4x
... during 2020 despite the pandemic, said Justice Minister Badasyan. There were 5 deaths compared to 21 in 2019. It's the lowest rate since 2016.
The issue of involving inmates in job programs to condition them for re-integration into the society is still present, "but we are discussing the implementation of several programs. There are some objective barriers."
Lori ragequits national soccer league
Lori FC was supposed to play against Ararat FC, but the team left the match and the tournament as a sign of protest after the referee whistle.
The club's founder apologized for the style of exit and said it's due to disagreements with the Soccer Federation administration. He feels the team's issues are being ignored and neglected.
Alexander Tamanyan - the Yerevan architect (storytime)
Writer Stepan Zoryan after meeting Tamanyan for the first time: he left the impression of an inspired and educated person with an energetic gait akin to those who strive for kind goals. He was 40-42, wearing a short camel wool coat. The hat made him seem like a local resident.
I thought he was secretly a writer or a musician, too. I didn't believe a man like him would only involve himself with architecture. Then I learned that he was a poet-architect: the delicate arches in [buildings designed by him] are wonderful and unique poems. //
Tamanyan was born in Yekaterinodar (Krasnodar, Russia) in 1878 and studied fine arts at Imperial Academy. In 1917 he served as Chairman of the Board of the Academy of Fine Arts of [St. Petersburg].
His career as an architect began with the reconstruction of the Armenian St. Cathrine church on Nevski Boulevard in St. Petersburg. He would later marry Camilla Edwards, a daughter of a British industrial tycoon. During this time he designs multiple buildings across Russia and gains fame by 1914.
Yerevan didn't look like a city in the early 20th century. Clay houses, narrow and dusty streets, 1-2 story poorly designed buildings, and it generally looked like a provincial grim settlement. Decades later, it would become one of the most beautiful cities thanks to Alexander Tamanyan.
Tamanyan leaves the luxury life behind and moves to Yerevan in 1919. His friend and famous painter Martiros Saryan once wrote a letter to Avetik Isahakyan, believing that Tamanyan's buildings will be more beautiful than "all the buildings constructed by the Armenian bourgeoisie in Tbilisi and Baku." (be civil in the comment section, thank you)
Tamanyan begins the journey in Yerevan by designing several private houses and public buildings; takes an active role in construction. Several buildings in the style of Italian Renaissance architecture were designed: National Library, Physiotherapeutic Institute, etc.
big work begins
In 1924 the govt approves his main Yerevan reconstruction project to turn it into a city-park with up to 150,000 population and 4-story buildings. There would be separate districts for administration, culture, students, and industry. The Taterakan and Lenini would be the two central parks, connected by Northern Avenue, which would end with a big view of Mt. Ararat.
His biggest projects were the Government and Joghtun buildings (Opera). He died before they were finished, but his son Gevorg continued his work. The design of these buildings received awards in 1937 in Paris, and the Stalin Award in 1942.
inspired by ancient elements
Tamanyan studied the ancient ruins of Zvartnots, Ani, etc. to borrow elements for modern use but without a basic copy-paste. He also designed the Coat of Arms during the 1st Republic.
Besides city buildings, he also designed water dams, canals, hydro-power plants, and irrigation networks.
Died at the age of 60.
Tags: #AlexanderTamanyan #Tamanyan
approved: Yerevan will have Master Chess Sports School
Yerevan has 12 chess schools. Today the city administration decided to convert one into a super-school to train the future generation of grandmasters. It'll help to form and traim teams representing Yerevan and Armenia.
Compared to youth sports center that only trains under-18 students for 10 years, the new facility will raise the age limit to 25 and provide 7 years of training for those who have a high rating. They want to focus on fewer players to achieve higher results.
Tags: #YerevanChess #ChessSchool
Yerevan sells recycled materials sorted by residents
Recently the municipality installed color-coded trash bins so the residents can sort garbage, plastic, and paper, for proper recycling.
Municipality officials: It has been a year since Yerevan, like many developed cities in the world, started the waste sorting process at the community level.
The project is of great environmental importance, through which we significantly reduce the amount of waste transported to the landfill. It prevents the process of burning and creating dangerous gas.
Developed countries had gone through decades to reach where they are. Today, we can finalize our project within 6 years.
As of right now, there are 400 bins installed in 135 locations, with the help of international colleagues. The locations were chosen based on surveys to find the areas where residents were enthusiastic about recycling.
It's also important to know what type of plastic and paper cannot be recycled. The city is routinely in touch with residents to keep them informed.
The trucks work 6 days a week to collect the recyclable materials. At the end of the day, they dump the load at a recycling factory. There are 4 companies that won a license to cooperate in recycling.
The money that the city collects by selling the recyclables to these 4 companies is then spent on planting green zones across Yerevan.
Tags: #recycle #tash #garbage
today in history
1521: Magellan reaches the Philippines
1789: Georg Ohm was born, the electric resistance guy
1935: fascist army Wehrmacht was created
1936: Ramond Damadian was born, the inventor of MRI medical device
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)
archive of older news
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/m6ic1i/mar162021_1_bill_army_dodgers_could_return_2/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2020 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2021 Daily Armenia Reports|