2021 September 17

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

Sep/17/2021: Asset forfeiture law targets $43M & properties __ Armenia is suing Azerbaijan __ CSTO, Shanghai, Kashmir __ Army exercises; Russian drones; ORSIS returns __ Foreign investments __ CodeSignal is hiring __ Lifting the blockade __ Tech center in village __ Yerevan's new bridge & road
by ar_david_hh


Your 11-minute Friday news in 2939 words.

anti-corruption: the recent law about confiscating illegal property has $43M in cash and hundreds of properties in the crosshairs

Prosecutor's office has a department dedicated to this task. They are currently investigating 247 individuals, suspected of illegal enrichment and shady property deals. The evidence against them had surfaced during a recent lawsuit and several investigative operations, during which the authorities conducted thousands of interviews/queries.

The courts have approved numerous requests by law enforcement for permission to obtain the suspects' banking and other financial information. Dozens of suspects had their properties frozen pending investigation. Dozens of queries were sent to international organizations to obtain data.

10 investigations have exposed illegal origins of hundreds of buildings, properties, and company shares, as well as ֏21.7 billion [cash or digital].

All persons of interest were informed about the investigation. They received the materials possessed by prosecutors so they can explain where the properties came from. Some of them have responded. Their case will be sent to court.

Prosecutors could soon offer the suspects to resolve the case in good faith without involving courts if 75% of the property is voluntarily returned.

Suspects include a former police chief, Serj Sargsyan's family members, and others.

https://youtu.be/7O3orSYv9eU https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063423.html

meeting between the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and India

They agreed that it's necessary to activate mutual visits, and discussed the construction of the North-South trade route in Armenia.

Mirzoyan thanked India for its stance on the regional conflict and reaffirmed Armenia's support for India in the Jammu and Kashmir.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063360.html

Pashinyan met Iran president Raisi during Tajikistan trip

Context of the CSTO trip in yesterday's post.

Pashinyan: we both took the office in the same period. I think it's a detail that can help us harmonize our actions. I returned to Armenia from your inauguration ceremony with good impressions. //

Raisi: congrats again on your victory. I hope new positive steps will be taken in the AM-IR relations during your term in the office. //

They discussed cargo transfers through Armenia and border issues.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063350.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063361.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063364.html

Shanghai session: Pashinyan criticized [Azerbaijan's] use of terrorist cells to "solve problems"

After the CSTO bloc meeting, the leaders of several states held a Shanghai Cooperation Organization session.

Pashinyan: Armenia is strongly interested in combatting the threat of international terrorism in CSTO and SCO space. It is unacceptable for certain countries to use terrorist groups for achieving military-political goals. Without adequate response at the right time, this can lead to further escalation and the infiltration of terrorist networks to neighboring countries. //

A declaration was signed about Afghanistan, urging the Taliban to form a coalition government that will respect all ethnic, religious, and political groups.

Iran has officially launched a process to join SCO. Armenia had joined SCO as a "partner in dialogue" back in 2015.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063400.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063412.html

Armenia has filed a lawsuit against Azerbaijan in the International Court of Justice

It's about Azerbaijan's state policies that promote racism and ethnic hatred towards Armenians. It could benefit the ongoing efforts to promote Artsakh's independence based on the principle of "secession for salvation".

Armenia said: For decades, Azerbaijan has subjected Armenians to racial discrimination. As a result of this State-sponsored policy, Armenians have been subjected to systemic discrimination, mass killings, torture, and other abuse. All good-faith efforts by us to put an end to Azerbaijan’s violations have failed. //

The court, based in Hague, revealed that Armenia's complaint is about discrimination of ethnic Armenians regardless of their nationality. For example, numerous Russian nationals with Armenian origins were discriminated against, leading to a diplomatic spat between Russia and Azerbaijan.

The report states that the racist practices continued during the 2020 war. Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of continuing to engage in the murder and torture of Armenian POWs.

Armenia has called on the tribunal to take measures "as a matter of extreme urgency" to "protect and preserve Armenia's rights and the rights of Armenians from further harm".

Azerbaijan threatened the file a similar lawsuit against Armenia. HD MP Vardanyan responded saying Azerbaijan's cries are "in the realm of delusion, not international law". He noted that the new filing is relating to the 2020 war and that it could have been applied to Turkey as well.

Besides threatening to sue Armenia for "ethnic discrimination", Azerbaijan complained about not having the full landmine maps which "prevent the Azeri refugees from returning [the captured] lands."

QP MP Tigranyan revealed that the lawsuit is a result of a lengthy fact-gathering effort. "These works were carried out in silence, without throwing the public into unnecessary shocks through various press conferences. All the violations that were committed by Azerbaijan have been mapped."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063366.html https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/180 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063382.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063386.html https://factor.am/417964.html https://eurasianet.org/azerbaijan-and-russia-in-escalating-dispute-over-ban-on-armenians

Tags: #Hague #lawsuit

Artsakh Army soldier is wounded after ceasefire violation by Azerbaijan

The incident happened in the western part of Artsakh. The information was shared with peacekeepers.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063407.html

Armenian army conducted a training involving air defense forces

https://factor.am/418108.html

VIDEO: 2 new strike drones were tested during the military exercise participated by Armenian forces

Armenia and few other states took part in the Zapad-2021 military drill in Russia. The advancing land troops were aided by Inokhodets and Forpost drones.

The video shows a Forpost-R drone dropping a [KAB-20?] bomb. This is a licensed model of Israeli Searcher Mk II. It's 0.5 tons, 6km altitude, 18 hours.

The second Inokhodets drone is manufactured by Kronshtdat company. 2 tons, 7km, 20 hours.

https://youtu.be/pVX1YPiv9s8?t=60 https://razm.info/153471

Armenia has apparently resolved the dispute with Russian weapons seller ORSIS

In 2019, Armenia accused the Kremlin-linked ORSIS weapon seller of fraud and blacklisted them. MOD Davit Tonoyan accused them of attempting to sell "amateur" night vision tech meant for hunters to the army, which could have endangered the soldiers' lives. ORSIS denied the accusation.

The blacklisting led to a lawsuit; ORSIS wanted to regain the right to sell weapons.

ORSIS engineer Maxim Baymetov: we have resolved the problems. We met Armenian military leadership during the Army-2021 games and discussed a possible deal, which could include weapons that are yet to be manufactured.

https://factor.am/198353.html https://factor.am/418130.html https://ria.ru/20210917/baymetov-1750358037.html

VIDEO: Russian peacekeepers accompanies Artsakh construction workers near the border

https://youtu.be/eoyUyiUcrjs

World Bank suspends the annual "Doing Business" index after a scandal

Top officials were allegedly caught twisting the rules to boost China's rating at the time when the bank was seeking cash from China.

Irregularities were also found in Azerbaijan's and Saudi Arabia's ratings, but no evidence of "bribery" (yet).

https://whtc.com/2021/09/16/world-bank-kills-business-climate-report-after-ethics-probe-cites-undue-pressure-on-rankings/

foreign businesses are hesitant to invest in Azerbaijan after "2020"

The war and the pandemic have forced investors to be more cautious about Azerbaijan, said Eyyub Karimli, the chairman of a research institute in Azerbaijan.

There were $1.7B investments, a 12% decline, in the Jan-Aug period. He hopes that the trend will reverse soon and they will invest in the occupied territories.

https://factor.am/418051.html

GeoProMining has invested $90M to re-equip the Agarak Copper-Molybdenum factory

>a recycling water supply system was put into operation to protect the environment. The new system also reduced water use by 30%.

>comprehensive modernization program was aimed at capital renovation of production; technical re-equipment of the quarry and re-equipment of the factory

>a project was also developed to increase the productivity of the enterprise from 3.5 million tons to 4.5 million tons of ore per year

http://arka.am/en/news/business/geopromining_announces_completion_of_the_second_stage_of_agarak_cmc_modernization_project/

president Sarkissian did what president Sarkissian does best

During his "Summit of Minds" trip to France, Sarkissian met a group of foreign business representatives (Google Cargill, Nestle, etc.) and urged them to invest in Armenia. They were invited to visit Armenia for the upcoming Summit of Minds on October 23.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063394.html https://factor.am/417986.html

CodeSignal secures another $50M for its tech hiring platform

>In less than a year after raising $25 million in Series B funding, technical assessment company CodeSignal announced a $50 million in Series C funding to offer new features for its platform that helps companies make data-driven hiring decisions

Education Minister Kerobyan: the company, co-funded by Tigran Sloyan and Aram Shatakhtsyan, is today valued at $500M after quadrupling it in under a year. There are vacant positions in their Yerevan office, waiting for you. //

https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/16/codesignal-secures-50m-for-its-tech-hiring-platform/ https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/221105

a small group of Armenian Parliamentarians will monitor elections in Russia

The elections begin today. PU MP Mamijanyan complained that the monitoring group does not include any members of opposition parties. According to Mamijanyan, the official reason for exclusion is various felony cases against several opposition officials (election fraud, etc.) which could prevent their travel. He believes the "travel ban" is unjustified.

96,000 polling stations have opened in Russia. Not long ago, the country began allowing voters to cast their ballots over the internet, which led to numerous reports of fraud, people finding out they have already voted, and someone asking for their username/password.

In other news...

PU MP Mamijanyan: we have not become a token opposition. We will continue the street struggle, closure of offices and streets, if necessary. It will happen when the number of people asking "when will you do it" increases. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063372.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063365.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063376.html

deputy Premier Mher Grigoryan about the ongoing efforts to lift the blockade on Armenia:

Railway transfers are easier to restore than highway transfers. The last meeting between AM-RU-AZ was a month ago. There is a need for expert work to mature the unblocking agenda.

Q: which railway is better for Armenia: northern Ijevan-Aghstafa or southern Syunik?

The Jan. 11 statement is about unblocking all regional trade routes. Each route has its own technical or economic problems, but we should not fixate on specific routes. They should all reopen.

We need to install customs and sanitary [for agriculture] checkpoints on the AM-AZ borders and regulate transfers based on CIS-related legal framework.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063426.html

Ghukasavan village has a professional IT center

The $88,000 Japanese-funded initiative aims to defeat poverty and unemployment in Ghukasavan and neighboring villages, by providing high-tech education to 3,000 young residents.

Japanese ambassador Fukushima: Հայաստանը հարուստ է մարդկային ռեսուրսներով, և այսօրվա ուսանողները հնարավորություն կունենան որակյալ կրթություն ստանալ և դառնալ ՏՏ ոլորտի փայլուն մասնագետներ: //

The mayor called it a long-awaited and historic day for the village.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063413.html

a group of Hadrut residents gathered in front of the government building

They complained that their opinions were ignored during the free housing construction and distribution process. A man said that instead of an apartment he would rather have land where he could work and collect enough money to build his own house.

Other complaints were about some of the residents wanting the apartments to be built in Armenia, but the government only offers them in Artsakh as part of efforts to boost Artsakh demographics.

Their main goal is to eventually return and live in Hadrut. Letters will be sent to international organizations to secure the return of IDPs.

https://factor.am/417901.html

EU ambassador met Emergency Minister to discuss ongoing projects

Minister Piloyan thanked the EU for the pandemic aid and for financing the "PPRD East 3" training program. The rescuers are being trained on how to handle natural disasters.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063440.html

care centers will have dedicated technology rooms for disabled soldiers

Labor Ministry official: ten care centers will soon have tech rooms as part of a campaign to help our disabled soldiers.

The prosthetics issue has already been addressed; we signed contracts with six prosthetics centers to help 115 soldiers. Himnadram and Ethernal Armenia foundations played a big role. Armenia became the first country in the region with state-of-the-art hand prosthetics after negotiations with an Icelandic company.

We're negotiating with an Italian firm to obtain exoskeleton for those who did not lose limbs but are on the path of recovery after a brain injury.

In 7 provinces, we will soon have centers that will not only help with recovery but also have educational/professional/leisure elements. It will allow disabled residents to gain the skills for independent living.

There are other programs, too. For example, the government will pay $1,000 to any business that is willing to make their office disability-friendly and hire a disabled worker, while the worker will receive an income tax waiver. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063353.html

IRS has retrained and hired several disabled soldiers

Five students passed the exams and will work at IRS/customs facilities in Yerevan, Bagratashen, and Gogavan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063368.html

the first "real" mental health facility for children has opened in Armenia

It will be part of Avan mental health center. The temporary facility in Armash did not meet the standards so they built this one. It will have professional medical beds and doctors.

Healthcare Minister Avanesyan: Unfortunately, today there is a social stigma associated with mental health. We began working on this facility in 2019, finished the legal reforms in 2020, and finally found the resources in 2021. // [another one thousand years and we will be on Mars]

https://factor.am/418203.html

Olympics Committee chief Gagik Tsarukyan and Sports Ministry will cooperate to help Armenian athletes

Q: Minister Dumanyan, it appears you are cooperating with someone who recently demanded the government's resignation?

Minister Dumanyan: interesting question. Look around you, what a beautiful facility (Olimpavan). We should focus on our athletes. This is the best cooperation we could have. We're cooperating to help the sport.

Q: Mr. Tsarukyan, can you tell us more about the memorandum that you signed with Education Ministry about the 2024 Olympics games?

Gagik Tsarukyan: what memorandum? We met the athletes and Ministry after the Tokyo games to discuss the next Olympics, to discuss who can do what to help our athletes.

Q: are you still in politics? Would you join the opposition and demand Pashinyan's resignation again?

Gagik Tsarukyan: BHK will not join anyone. We are here. We work constructively. Anyone with resources should help the country today, and not cheer whenever something bad happens.

https://youtu.be/MDPCpHnXmWc https://youtu.be/iHvYeJUtdi0?t=19 https://factor.am/417938.html https://factor.am/417966.html

post office is working with Yerevan to help residents pay taxes & fees more easily

HayPost will offer a new service. You can use one of the locations and check/pay your balance for land tax, property tax, and garbage collection. No fees for transactions below $2.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063377.html

VIDEO: famous Russian-Armenian singer Philip Kirkorov is in Yerevan

At the airport, he was greeted by the winner of the New Wave 2021 international song contest Saro Gevorgyan.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=565103121301648 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063406.html

VIDEO: 70% of work is complete on the new Argavand-Shirak bridge in Yerevan

Yerevan reports: it's on the Hrazdan River and is considered the most important structure of the circular road. The metal bridge will have a 252m length and 28m width.

The columns are done. The bridge will connect Argavand to Shirak Street. It will be ready in a few months.

A Georgian construction firm is taking part. The bridge, co-financed by the Asian Development Bank, will have European standards and last for over a century, says the builder.

Other construction work is being done in the Babajanyan-Ashtarak section. Part of it will be ready in a few days, with the rest by mid-December. This road will allow travelers from Ashtarak (north of Yerevan) to bypass Yerevan's downtown roads, thus alleviating traffic.

This 23km ring-road is located in the western part of the capital and connects north to south.

https://youtu.be/gH22FHd7ekk?t=7

Nature Ministry has found the reason why stonks are covered in pollutants, after a lengthy investigation

The preliminary data confirms their original theory: improper management of organic waste from businesses and fish industry in the Masis settlement landfill.

The Ministry will hold talks with the fish industry to address the issue for now, before implementing long-term garbage reforms in this area.

https://factor.am/417906.html

infrastructure repairs across Armenia

Artsakh authorities denied rumors claiming that Azeri workers, with Iranian passports, were hired to do construction in Artsakh. The authorities reminded that the practice of hiring foreign workers is nothing new. [a few months ago there were complaints about not enough workers amid post-war construction boom]

The cultural house is being renovated in Saralanj. It will begin to host school children for dance, music, and sports activities, while the adults can hang around in the leisure area. It's co-funded by federal and local authorities.

https://factor.am/418223.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063374.html

COVID stats

5413 tested. 759 infected. 614 healed. 26 deaths. 10766 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063371.html

scientists urge doctors to urge residents to get vaccinated

President of Armenian Association of Reproductive Medicine: the medical community should be more vocal about the need to be vaccinated. Even Pope recently urged every to receive it.

As for doctors who urge against vaccination, they should get serious. It is necessary to form an ethics committee to show our attitude towards such doctors. Those who took the Hippocratic Oath but urge patients not to get vaccinated, leading to a patient's death, should be held accountable.

Vaccines are not dangerous for pregnant women. Pregnant women with COVID are much more likely to die.

Also, vaccination does not affect reproductive function. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063424.html

new POI traffic signs are being added to help guide travelers

The government accepted Economy Ministry's proposal to add new signs to circulation to make tourists' travel easier.

Image: https://factor.am/417652.html

Sharjah Masters Chess begins in UAE

Hayk Martirosyan and Tigran Harutyunyan won their first rounds. Total of 9 rounds, $60,000 prize fund.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063442.html

top-10 bestseller translated books in August

8) Հայրիկ, դու խենթ ես, by William Saroyan

5) Fahrenheit 451

4) Alchemist

3) Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach

2) Zulali, by Narine Abgaryan

1) Simon, by Narine Abgaryan

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063336.html

today in history

1630: the city of Boston is founded

1787: U.S. adopts the Constitution

1908: architect Rafael Israelyan is born. He authored the Sardarapat and Mother Armenia monuments.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1063345.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

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


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/pq852b/sep172021_asset_forfeiture_law_targets_43m/

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