2021 September 14

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

News - Sep/14/2021: Nuclear plant will increase production __ Yerevan will revamp public transport routes; 850 buses __ Draught vs Van lake __ Iran & US "unite" against Azerbaijan __ Commander arrested over 62 POWs __ Multiple anti-corruption busts __ Parliament __ Village mergers __ Tuition subsid
by ar_david_hh


Your 12-minute Tuesday recap in 3008 words.

Yerevan will have a new transport route map and 850 buses

This was first announced last year. Meanwhile, they are working on importing the buses.

Yerevan's 211 new buses will arrive in Georgian Black Sea port next month, announced mayor Marutyan, giving Oct. 20 as the approximate date of arrival in Armenia. These 8.5-meter buses will replace the aging marshrutkas, in addition to launching new routes.

Marutyan: this is a transitional phase. In the end, we will have 850 buses operating in a new transport network drawn by a British consultant.

A unified payment system will be implemented across the capital. You can pay with a smartphone, banking card, and anything that can make an electronic transaction. //

Councilman: we must ensure the transport operates from 7:00-23:00. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063086.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063084.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063084.html https://factor.am/416586.html

PHOTOS: Turkish scientists warn about unprecedented water loss in lake Van

The shallow shores have turned into desert-like "beaches". Areas with marine life and microbiological layers have found themselves on land as a result of water retreat.

That retreat is 1km in the north-eastern part amid a 3m drop in water levels, as opposed to the seasonal 1.5m drop. The evaporation loses 3x more water than that the lake takes from rain and snow melting.

There was a time when the lake was 150m higher. Local elderly residents don't remember anything like this. One of them purchased a beach house 20 years ago. Today it's a kilometer away from the shores.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/220704

ongoing repairs in the Armenian nuclear power plant will boost its capacity to 440 MW

The VVER 440-V230 reactor was 390 MW before the repairs. The repairs include modernization of the reactor's emergency cooling system, boron unit's ventilation system, and the power supply.

Russia's Rosatom was hired for $40M to complete the task. CEO Salkov said they are working hard to meet the deadline (soon).

A new working group is created between the Armenian government and Rosatom to prepare for future repairs to extend its life until 2036. This one is good until 2026.

http://arka.am/en/news/technology/modernization_of_armenian_nuclear_power_plant_to_boost_its_performance_and_bring_its_capacity_to_440/

Pashinyan hosted Gazprom boss Alexey Miller

They discussed investments and social programs in Armenia, cooperation in the energy sector.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063121.html

some in Azerbaijan are concerned about the new head of Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh

Mikhail Kosobokov has replaced Rustam Muradov. Azeris have noted that Kosobokov previously served in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Crimea, and had cooperated with local "separatist movement". They noted that Kosobokov has not yet visited Baku after last week's visit to Yerevan.

https://youtu.be/3veB7Keowj4?t=137

Iran says the Azeri-Turkish military drill in Caspian lake was illegal

The Caspian conventions prohibit a non-member state from taking part, said Iranian MFA. They will address the issue "diplomatically".

https://factor.am/416199.html

Parliament will discuss the difficulties faced by Iranian vehicles while traveling through the Azeri section of Goris-Kapan road

HD alliance summoned a closed-door meeting because the discussions with officials could contain classified information. They will also discuss the diplomatic work that's being done with Iran.

HR Ombudsman revealed that in some situations, Azeri border guards often present themselves as Armenian guards to the Iranian drivers, during the "tax collection".

The Iranian drivers are also harassed with bogus demands to pay $10-$50 fines for "not wearing a seatbelt", etc.

Pashinyan recently said an alternative road is in the works and should be ready by the end of this year. "We predicted this scenario so we began working on it earlier."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063070.html https://factor.am/416384.html https://youtu.be/mjpGG7LVHPA?t=338

U.S. embassy responds to Azerbaijan, insists that Karabakh status is yet to be negotiated

Context about Baku's mini-tantrum in yesterday's post.

U.S. embassy responds to Baku: we urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to resume the substantive OSCE Minsk Group negotiations ASAP. Only a comprehensive solution, which addresses all the unresolved issues, can normalize relations between AM-AZ and allow the people of the region to live in peace. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063118.html

new deputy U.S. ambassador begins his journey with a Syunik trip

The new deputy ambassador Chip Laitinen, the U.S. military attaché, and other delegation members met the governor of Syunik today. It was ambassador Tracey's wish/advice for them to start from Syunik, to "emphasize that the region is a priority in terms of the activities of the U.S. embassy".

They discussed ongoing reforms in Armenia and border topics.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063138.html

authorities arrest battalion commander whose men were captured on December 2020

62 soldiers were captured in Artsakh shortly after the war, in an area that legally belonged to Artsakh after the Nov 9 agreement, but was not guarded by peacekeepers for unclear reasons.

Prosecutors report: the battalion commander Lt.Col Ա.Ղ. disobeyed orders and left his position. He showed negligence towards the service, and accepted a bribe. He's facing seven felony counts. The court has authorized his arrest. //

https://factor.am/416890.html

anti-corruption: IRS inspectors are charged with bribery

NSS and SIS report: Ararat-based IRS inspectors Tigran Avetikyan and Vardan Aghazaryan extorted ֏1.5M from a business in return for ignoring violations by the business, under the threats of arresting the owner if he doesn't pay. Both agents have been arrested. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063110.html

anti-corruption: Artsakh is also prosecuting its mischievous mayors

Artsakh authorities report: a village mayor in Martuni province caused ֏815K in damages by intentionally misusing the collected funds between Sept 2020 - Jan 2021. The mayor is charged with abuse of power.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/220747 http://arlexis.am/DocumentView.aspx?docid=10260

anti-qyart: deputy head of Yerevan's Kentron district is charged with assault

Investigators report: on May 11, accompanied by ten others, the suspect entered the office of another official and began assaulting him, with demands for him to leave the room. //

Context: there was a dispute about a "fired" employee "refusing to leave" the office.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063139.html

anti-corruption: Lori officials/residents are facing charges over improper use of agricultural subsidy funds

Prosecutors report: the federal government has a program to help farmers implement high-tech by subsidizing their loans. Hundreds of 2019-2020 subsidy contracts were investigated. Four of them contained evidence of the subsidies not being used for their intended purpose. A felony case is launched. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063102.html

anti-corruption: BHK MP candidate is charged with voter bribery

SIS reports: BHK candidate Aramayis Aproyan, who led the Gavar office, conspired with his secretary to distribute bribes to around 80 voters. On June 8-9 they gave away bribe bags containing goods worth $10-$20 to 31 residents. Seven individuals are charged. MP candidate Aproyan is arrested. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063099.html

Parliament is electing a member of Corruption Prevention Committee

The candidate, nominated by the Competition Board, is Mariam Galstyan, the head of the Justice Ministry's Anti-Corruption Policy Development and Monitoring Department. Yesterday she went through a Q&A in Parliament ahead of today's vote.

She said she grew up in a family that had a negative attitude towards corruption, and believes it's necessary to implement educational programs for school children and public officials to combat corruption.

Kocharyan-ARF's alliance will boycott the voting because they want the opposition to have more power over the anti-corruption institute and its appointments.

HD MP Artsvik Minasyan: one of the key players in anti-corruption policy should be the political opposition but the current model leaves us completely powerless. Everything depends on the authorities. //

Candidate Galstyan: I am ready to cooperate with any political party and official in the fight against corruption. I am your ally in that matter. //

Parliament voted 66-1 to approve her.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063045.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063050.html https://iravaban.net/348546.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063050.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063068.html

Parliament is electing a Cassations Court judge

The three candidates are Hovsep Bedevyan, Liana Hakobyan, and Hrach Ayvazyan. The president of the Supreme Court Jhangiryan went to the parliament to present the nominees.

Candidate Badevyan: judging is not an attractive job. There have been many vacant positions in the past 3 years. [you have three guesses] It's due to low salaries and the mood in the society towards judges. The judicial system has a trust problem. //

88 MPs took part in the voting. The judge was approved with an 80-7 vote. (the ruling party has 71 seats)

Chief Jhangiryan himself was asked a few questions. He dismissed a rumor cited by an opposition MP, originated from an inmate, in which the inmate claimed that Jhangiryan "ordered" the judge to jail the said inmate. The inmate in question is ex-hospital director now-HD MP Charchyan who was caught on audio allegedly pressuring his subordinates not to vote for Pashinyan.

Jhangiryan was also asked to comment on the October 27 terrorist attack. He was the former chief investigator and had earlier complained that the Kocharyan administration "pressured" him to stop the investigation.

Jhangiryan: the October 27 case was solved. Everything is in the materials of the criminal case. Not all accomplices and masterminds were necessarily identified. The investigation continues. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063054.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063073.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063076.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063116.html https://factor.am/416417.html

MFAs of Armenia and Slovakia held a meeting

The two spoke about cooperation in the fields of energy, green energy, IT, and culture. MFA Mirzoyan expressed gratitude for pandemic aid, and for the Slovakian parliament adopting pro-Armenian resolutions during and after the war.

Slovak MFA said the process of returning POWs and removing landmines should continue.

Slovak MFA meet Pashinyan to discuss regional conflicts and mutual trade.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063052.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063063.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063085.html

ministers from Armenia and Ukraine met to discuss business

Armenian-Ukrainian intergovernmental economic cooperation commission held a meeting in Yerevan, the first in 8 years.

Economy Minister Kerobyan spoke about boosting tourism from Ukraine and creating new tour packages, and organizing a business forum to invite private investors.

The Ukrainian delegation spoke about cooperating in industry, transport, agriculture, and other areas.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063066.html

Yerevan city council's ruling party member returns after surviving an assassination attempt

Earlier we learned that masked assailants broke into Councilman Arman Antonyan's family home at night and stabbed him 11 times. The police and the victim believe it was over his political activities. They identified one of the suspects and launched a manhunt.

Today he participated in the Yerevan council session. He believes the attack was a response to his efforts to reduce wasteful spending in some departments, and a resolution that was presented on July 29, two days before the attack.

Councilman Antonyan: it was a life-and-death struggle. I was asleep when they hit me in the head with a bat multiple times, before stabbing 11 times. By the will of God, miraculously, I was able to get out of the extremely difficult state and survive. The intruders also stabbed my [grandfather]. //

Mayor Marutyan: What doesn't kill us makes us stronger [FFS STFU]. I wish you good health. Hopefully, you will continue with council activities with the same vigor. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063067.html https://youtu.be/go2YRPVvSA8

Yerevan mayor mocks the now "traditional" rumors that he is going to resign soon

Rumors that Marutyan will resign were circulated by opposition activists shortly after he took the office in 2018. "Today we mark the third anniversary of [rumors]," said Marutyan when asked by a council member if it's true that he plans to resign. (classic "just asking" trolling)

Ahead and after the June 20 elections, other conspiracy theories were circulated about the government "sabotaging" the city finances to "harm the mayor" and the ruling party "replacing Marutyan soon" (the mayors are elected y residents for 4 years).

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063082.html https://youtu.be/TxU9TfHkQWk

a group of Fizgorodok district residents protested the construction of a neighboring building

Context in August 24 news post. Residents don't like the construction company, the company says they own the land, the city says the land was sold years ago and they can't just take it away, the Nature Ministry might step it.

Fizgorodok residents closed a road in front of the Yerevan municipality with demands to suspend the construction. Four of them were detained during a confrontation with police.

The city council discussed legal issues relating the land ownership and construction. "We guided the residents to contact the relevant authorities that actually have the power to stop the construction," said the Mayor.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063079.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063080.html https://factor.am/416557.html

update: Armenia will have 78 municipalities after the second and final round of mass-scale village mergers

Hundreds of villages have been merged since 2011. The efforts will conclude soon when the rest of the unmerged villages join the nearby larger municipality. The goal is to allow for better management and more available resources to tiny ones.

In the end, Armenia will have 71 merged municipalities, 6 ethnic minority municipalities that won't merge, and Yerevan.

Recently the government promoted the mergers by providing bonuses and infrastructure funding for the merged settlements.

Infrastructure Ministry official Ashot Giloyan: the territorial reforms continue. The law was very recently approved by govt and presented to Parliament to finish the mergers. These settlements will hold local elections on December 5 under the new setup.

Mergers allow for rural villages to gain new services and resources. This prevents emigration and makes life more comfortable. You'll find the list of benefits on the Ministry website.

For example, Lori's Tumanyan and surrounding 6 villages merged and became larger. Its Atan village (annual budget $7,000) did not have anything. No garbage collection, no lighting, no services. After the merger, the village gained a kindergarten, with the utility bills and salaries now paid by the larger municipality. All those villages have a regular garbage collection now. //

Q: some residents of larger villages are against these mergers because they are concerned that their resources will be redirected to nearby smaller villages.

The merged settlements have seen a 25-70% increase in budget revenues since the merger, for various reasons, including better management.

I'll give you the example of the Dilijan merged cluster. Haghartsin was a large village with a population of 5,000. Nearby, there were Teghut and Gosh (1,500) and three smaller ones. Haghartsin, being the largest one, had a budget of ֏65M. When a commission went there years later, it turned out the merged settlement had a budget of ֏300M. Haghatsin and other settlements saw larger investments.

Q: some residents of smaller villages fear that their village won't have a representative in the enlarged municipal council board.

We can use the same Dilijan-Haghartsin example. Voters elected a 15-member council after the merger. 10 from Dilijan, 3 from [tiny] Teghut, 1 from [large] Haghartsin, 1 from Gosh. No one was elected from three smaller villages.

The reason why smaller Teghut gained more seats than much larger Haghartsin is that Teghut residents had done the math that in order to raise their chances of sending a representative, they would need to nominate fewer candidates so each one could gain enough votes to beat the opponents.

In comparison, much larger Haghartsin nominated 10 candidates, which led to the votes being split and only one receiving enough to beat others.

In the end, the municipality works for everyone. Immediately after the elections, the municipality took care of gas network issues in small villages that "did not have representatives".

Georgia went through this merger process in 2006. This will continue in Armenia, with some of the already-merged settlements possibly deciding to merge with each other into even larger municipalities. //

https://youtu.be/0u1dyff6MQ8 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063092.html

Tags: #mergers

֏2 billion solar investments are planned for merged settlements

This time it's co-financed by the government and the World Bank. Over 200 buildings will have solar in 27 merged settlements. The goal is to reduce expenditures and allow the saved funds to be used elsewhere.

https://factor.am/416414.html

thousands of war participants and their families have received university tuition subsidies

The government approved the 100% subsidy program for one semester after the war. 4,200 participants and 2600 family members have received the aid, bringing the total to 7000 (some get it for other reasons).

The aid program will continue throughout 2022 to cover those who haven't returned from conscription yet.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063057.html

Central Bank discusses economy, inflation, demand-pull:

We forecast a 5.4% economic growth instead of 4.6%.

The refinancing rate has increased by 0.25%, to 7.25%.

August YoY inflation was +0.4%. The 12-month inflation was 8.8%.

Despite new COVID waves around the world, Armenia's key economic partners are seeing economic growth and a rise in demand that's higher than what was predicted. The supply and demand keep the raw material and food prices high. Inflation is higher in partner states. This has an effect on the inflation in the Armenian economy.

The current developments in the economic growth are more positive than expected, due to bigger growth in agriculture and services. The demand is growing slightly faster than expected thanks to private consumption demand, and remittances from abroad. The private investment growth remains relatively subdued.

Internal consumption is growing faster than production, leading to more internal inflation.

The inflation is expected to reduce to target 4% in 2022. //

More: https://youtu.be/EEoN1HnrjQ4 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063098.html https://factor.am/416685.html

COVID stats

5067 tested. 657 infected. 416 healed. 16 deaths. 10068 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063053.html

France donates 25,000 AstraZeneca to Armenia

More batches will be delivered soon.

Macron: Ինչպես և խոստացել էի նախորդ տարվա օգոստոս ամսին, 25 000 դեղաչափ պատվաստանյութի առաջին խմբաքանակն այս երեկո կհասնի մեր հայ բարեկամներին։ Համերաշխությունը գործողության մեջ COVID-19 համավարակի դեմ պայքարում

Pashinyan: L’Amitié franco-arménienne au rendez-vous à #Erevan avec l’arrivée de la première partie de 25.000 doses de vaccins sur 200.000 que la #France octroie à l’#Arménie pour l’épauler dans son action contre le #COVID19.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063072.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063133.html https://twitter.com/NikolPashinyan/status/1437773295236132875 https://www.facebook.com/EmmanuelMacron/posts/3235401070025790?__tn__=K-R

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888,000 Armenians are recipients of some form of social services: 284k in Yerevan and 604k in provinces.

The Unified Social Service was launched in Armenia on April 1. Residents can take care of paperwork involving multiple state departments (labor, social, medical) all in one office, and save time.

Such offices are available in 49 locations now: 7 in Yerevan and 42 in provinces. Another 19 are being built.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/220785

European chess champion Elina Dannielyan receives the Order for Service to the Motherland 2nd degree

President Sarkissian hosted the grandmaster today. They played chess. The game was rigged to end in a draw. Is this Armenia-Liechtenstein v2.0?

https://youtu.be/OjlYjUBJ9qM?t=58 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063130.html

Russian translation of daily news posts are once again available

Impossible-Ad- is back

https://www.reddit.com/r/ArmDailyReports_RUS_/comments/pnwxln/итоговые_новости_из_армении_13_сентября_2021

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

Donations: soldiers' families, humanitarian aid, US tax-deductible donation.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/poa9zx/news_sep142021_nuclear_plant_will_increase/

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