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Anti-Corruption & News from Armenia - Aug/1/2019

2019.08.01 21:37 ar_david_hh Anti-Corruption & News from Armenia - Aug/1/2019

Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law, even if they may sound as being guilty. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise. Older posts can be found at: PART 1 ; PART 2 ; PART 3 , credits to Idontknowmuch.
Diasporan journalist Peter Musurlian wins his 3rd Los Angeles Emmy Award for directing and narrating a Holocaust related film. His grand-family survived the genocide.
The widespread Siberian infernos are a result of not containing the fire on time, and somewhat due to a dry weather, says the Russian government. Donald Trump offered help with extinguishing it after the smoke reached US.
The director of Georgian Oil Importers Union says they are forced to improve the fuel quality standards in 2021 instead of 2020 because Azerbaijan is unable to improve their oils refineries on time. "It's cheap, but they can't keep up with standards". If the standards improve in 2020, Georgia will have to look for Russia as the main diesel fuel partner.
Iran plans to flat out remove four zeros from their "Rial" currency because it ain't worth anything. They also want to rename it after the old "Toman", and introduce coins. Currency devalued from 37k per dollar to 180k per dollar since 2018 after Trump's economic pressures.
A group of human smugglers from Iran and Armenia took $12,000 from several Iraqi residents and sent them to Armenia with fake passports. The travelers tried to use the fake Spanish, Greek and French passports to fly to Europe, but NSS caught them before boarding. 5 people are charged.
Rumors says they will stay in Armenia and play in the national soccer league. /s
The government approved Pashinyan's plan to move Araratyan car customs clearance facility from Yerevan to Gyumri. 181mln dedicated. Pashinyan earlier promised to do it as part of the idea to move certain structures to provinces to help improve the development of other cities.
Pashinyan said they agreed with Georgia so the latter can repair their part of the road that connects to Armenia in an area that can be used as a substitute to offload some of the burden from the other border customs points. Armenia is repairing roads on its side.
The government gave a piece of land to a food production firm Nairi so it can invest 260mln and create 45 jobs

Tax waiver was given to Lentex textile firm so it can expand the business in Gyumri by investing 5bln and creating 460 jobs with avg 80k salary in 3 years.

HELLO textile firm received a tax pardon so it can continue the 134mln investments necessary for 79 jobs.

ProfPanel solar panel production firm received a tax waiver so it can invest 2.9bln and add 5 more jobs with avg 175k salary. 5.9bln goods to be produced.
In 2018, 11% of real estate transactions were done by foreign citizens, and the purchases outnumbered sales by 2x.
Hundreds of Armenian tourists were stuck in Egypt after their scammy tour agency failed to properly pay and handle flights. Audits show some of these middle-man tour agencies also avoided taxes. Police chief said there is a felony case against some of these agencies. Their offices were raided.
Several cemeteries were vandalized since July 23rd. Today it happened in Yerablur, where the military graves are. The vandal poured molten candle around the stones. Nothing was broken.
The police caught the perpetrator after someone reported a person with a suspicious behavior. Perpetrator said she was doing a ritual with molten candles to free the area from demons. 🎬 -- --

The molten candle was cleaned up
NSS and Ijevan police says they busted the former director of the City Culture House with registering a non-existent worker then embezzling 0.6mln in salaries in 2016.

Ijevan gallery former director is busted embezzling 5mln by paying himself salary while not going to work. In a similar fashion, the director embezzled 3mln from a salary for a non-existent worker.
BHK MP and former Gyumri mayor Vardan Ghukasyan's son is facing felony charges for falsifying health records and marriage data to avoid military draft, say authorities. The incident most likely happened years ago as he is 34 years old at the moment.
Justice Minister Badasyan says the upcoming judicial reforms will hold judges accountable (suspension, etc.) if their verdicts are overturned by international courts such as ECHR. The oversight institute will have a say whether judge's mistakes were severe enough to be punishable.

Minister urged the public not to fall for the opposition circles' manipulations regarding the "traditional values and the Istanbul Convention". Says it doesn't bring anything new in regards to gender terminology that hasn't existed in Armenian law since 2013. Transgenderism and gender as a social construct was recognized in Armenia in 2013. Convention does not mandate new terms around this. He urged media outlets to hold the alarmists accountable several years from now by asking them why the gay marriage or adoptions are still not a thing.

In October, Venice Commission will give an opinion whether the Convention meets the Armenian Constitution.
Minister said domestic abuse is widespread in Armenia and many times the law enforcement encourages women not to report incidents. Convention will regulate this and train the law enforcement.

Minister said they will replace Armenia's second representative to Venice Commission because he isn't independent enough. The man is infamous Constitutional Court chief Hrayr Tovmasyan's friend and was involved with writing the new Constitution.
The first (main) representative, who will remain in Venice, is also a HHK ally. He was the Supreme Council Chief until very recently before he resigned amid public protests. In 2018, he resigned from the Constitutional Court chief's position to allow HHK to appoint Hrayr Tovmasyan as the new Constitutional Court chief.
Update: in an earlier post I incorrectly wrote that there will be a 3rd representative. This "3rd representative" in reality is a replacement for the 2nd one.
Gegharquniq provincial prosecutors have made 3x as many public official corruption busts in 1H19 vs 1H18. From those who got busted, 6 were mayors.
Directors of two Construction firms tasked with building the North-South highway are charged with felony forgery and tax avoidance, in a 520mln case. They have been arrested.
Update: general Manvel Tushonja Grigoryan's son was the Ejmiatsin mayor. Few months earlier he was charged with embezzlement after the investigators found numerous falsification and theft instances. Former mayor is now charged with 8 felonies. Few more high ranking city officials are also charged. 26mln has been recovered.
URL missing.
Update: former HHK MP and nature minister has been on the run after businesswoman admitted she gave him dozens of millions of dollars bribe to obtain a business permission. Minister's aide was at the time arrested for allegedly helping the Minister to launder the money through Middle Eastern nations. Today, the court has ruled that the charges against the aide are merited and he should remain locked up.
Detailed report of how the former HHK Prime Minister and previously Infrastructure Minister Hovik "Muk" Abrahamyan, while in office, obtained large swaths of lands through shenanigans involving registering them under friends' names.
NSS and SIS have summoned the former deputy Defense Minister Vahan Shirkhanyan to "clarify a few things". He earlier wrote an open letter saying Kocharyan was trying to give Meghri to Azerbaijan, and that he deliberately neglected 35,000 Artsakh war refugees forcing them to relocate to Armenia.
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2019.07.26 22:00 ar_david_hh Anti-Corruption & News - Jul/26/2019:: Illegal cafes near Opera; Criminal investigation :: Former officials invstg in forest cutting/planting case :: Ejmiatsin official invstg :: Marriages up :: State of journalism in Armenia; Fake News :: Istanbul Convention :: Army :: Neighborhood ::: Rubic's cube

Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law, even if they may sound as being guilty. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise. Older posts can be found at: PART 1 ; PART 2 ; PART 3 , credits to Idontknowmuch.
This space is intentionally left blank.
Update: the 119 Armenian tourists stuck in Egypt yesterday due to a scammy Armenian tour agency will be (have been) flown back with a govt-paid plane today. ---
Update: Azerbaijan has found the fighter jet that crashed during exercises yesterday. It'll be lifted tomorrow. They have suspended all military flights. --

Azerbaijan will remove the visa regime with Turkey and allow Turks to stay for 1 month. Turkey had lifted it in 2007.
In 2011, Iran removed visa for Azeris, but Azerbaijan didn't return the favor. Iran didn't like this. In 2012, Iran told Azerbaijan that if Azerbaijan removes visa for Turkey, then it has to do the same for Iran, otherwise Iran would not allow Azeris to travel freely to Nakhijevan through Iran.

Russia has lifted visa for Turkish politicians and their families. There used to be a wider visa-free regime but it was removed after Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet in 2015. --
Govt: as part of the new national security plan, all military outposts will have a flowing water by Oct-2020.
The Army is hiring construction workers, shooters, etc. The salary in Artsakh front-lines will be ~20% higher due to recent salary hike. The "new system" allows the contractors to spend every weekend at home. Up to 40yo qualify. The age limit was recently raised from 36.
Nature Ministry did more exams and decided more Sevan areas need to be cleared from submerged trees. 909ha has been prioritized and should be done by 2021. These are the most active areas that create organic growths.
Update: Prosecutors and investigators denied numerous media reports that Constitutional Court chief Hrayr Tovmasyan is under an investigation for his past activities in Parliament.
President Sarkissian wants you to leave him out of the political discussions around the judicial system. He hopes to see reforms.
The Justice Minister has asked Venice Committee (specialized in constitution and law) for an opinion regarding Istanbul Convention, which is about fighting abuse against women. Serj's government, among many European nations, signed it in early 2018. Pashinyan government is under a pressure to finalize it into law. Critics say one of the clauses of the Convention legally establishes a 3rd gender.
Bulgaria had earlier went through a similar process. Their Constitutional Court found the Convention to be valid.

Not everybody agrees that the language is problematic. "There is no word about transgender or gay marriages. It provides no such abilities."
The issue comes from the word "partner", which the critics in Armenia want to see defined more specifically to avoid loopholes.
Critics of the critics say "partner" is the more appropriate word because not all violence is between a husband and wife, and writing "spouse" would exclude boyfriend-girlfriend or spouse-lover abuse.
The church is against Convention because they say it allows anyone to choose their gender, and the paper will force the government to implement certain "educational changes" about this. -- --
Update: when illegal loggers protested in Ijevan, Ministry of Infrastructure offered them legal jobs. 170 have applied with the Ministry portal. 138 were redirected to a job seeking service. 36 refused the job offers. 36 accepted the jobs. 89 are going through interviews.
First Lady Anna Hakobyan manages two charity foundations that are helping children with cancer and others with health issues. Today she called out Roboserj Irates media outlet for a "fake news ordered and paid by a son of the former corrupt regime's high ranking official." It spread rumors based on their "sources" saying that some businesses were forced to pay money to the foundation in order not to have "problems".
She said it was made aware that a large sum was paid to the outlet to write the article. Some businessmen came forward and said some outlets there blackmailing them with an extortion demand in exchange for not publishing made-up damaging stories, said Hakobyan. --- -- Relevant: Roboserj Zham --- Roboserj Analitik
The Free Speech Committee has a report on the general state of journalism in Armenia.
The number of lawsuits (56) involving media is 5x higher than in last year's 1H. 19 lawsuit were filed against media by ordinary citizens alleging defamation. 19 lawsuit by current or former politicians. 7 by businesses. 3 by NGOs. 2 by judges. 2 by lawyers. 2 were filed by media themselves to make some data public. 1 financial dispute.
Journalists complain about increased problems with obtaining official information from the government bodies, and a bad treatment by politicians while doing their work. Notable incident is Gagik Tsarukyan who insulted a journalist few weeks ago.
151 violations against reporter rights, and 2 physical assaults which is lower than before. 83 various forms of "pressure". 66 cases of hindering ability to receive or transmit info.
After the 2018 revolution, large shift in media ownership took place. TV networks were sold. This was done by the former government members, without the intervention of the new government, says the committee report.
This has made the media landscape more polarized, "us vs them". Because networks aren't always profitable, they often fall under an influence of those with cash and serve as a propaganda machine.

This has made it important to increase the media ownership and financial transparency. This requires transparency laws to be implemented by legislators. Free Speech committee has been working on one such bill and has sent it to the Parliament. It's being discussed with various journalist unions.
In June-2015 and July-2016, clashes happened between protesters and police. Over 40 journalists were hurt. In March-2019, investigative committee closed the 1st case saying the identities of those who assaulted journalist were unknown. Journalists filed a complaint with prosecutors, and the case was re-opened. The 2nd lawsuit to identify assaulted is still ongoing.
OSCE's secretary of free press affairs Harlem D. says the freedom of press has improved in Armenia after the revolution.
He visited Armenia before and after the events, and is "inspired by the progress". He wants to cooperate with the government to improve the press freedoms further, to reduce fake news and have high quality journalism, a more independent public broadcaster, etc.
He also spoke about suppression of media in Turkey, Azerbaijan and Russia.
Last year, Shirak State University rector was forced to resign amid lengthy protests and corruption outcry. A temporary rector was assigned. This new one is now facing abuse of power charges for allegedly assigning his work to be done by 2 professors so he could avoid going to work but still get paid.
Investigators have uncovered a 5.3mln embezzlement case by former Ejmiatsin municipality officials. A worker didn't go to work since 2011 but got paid up until June-2018 (interesting d8 m8). The immediate supervisor was earlier caught with numerous other embezzlement cases. The city's mayor was Manvel Tushonka Girgoryan's son, who is also facing charges. ---
General Prosecutor's office is working with Nature and other ministries to investigate illegal actions by various officials.
In Nov-2007, the government authorized 357 hectare forests to be cut so Teghut mine could operate. Nature and Agriculture Ministries were instructed to plant equal number of trees elsewhere to compensate for loss. These ministries were tasked with verifying the process of cutting and planting the new trees.
In 2012, Teghut mine and Hayantar gov-run nature organization signed a 431mln deal for Hayantar to plant and take care 315 hectare trees until 2015. The aforementioned Ministries were instructed to monitor this process.
In 2015, Hayantar administration signed off papers verifying they planted 132 hectare land in a particular area, for which they got paid 115mln by Teghut mine.
In Sep-2018 and 2019, audits revealed that this trees weren't taken care of as instructed by the agreement, and this resulted in trees going bad.
Former Nature and Agriculture ministry workers and Hayantar admins are now facing 3 felony charges.
A QP MP has called for an investigation regarding the €1.6 million property that was illegally taken away from a man during the Kocharyan administration. European Court for Human Rights yesterday confirmed the plaintiff's claims. It was noted that the judges who approved the takeover were corrupt.
The US-Armenian construction company manager had admitted in 2012 that bribes were paid to Yerevan municipality workers and the court, to approve the takeover.
💦💩 💦 ---
Yerevan municipality and the Culture Ministry are cooperating with the prosecutors regarding the investigation of how some cafes were built illegally on the protected green zone next to the Opera building, years earlier. They were removed few months ago.
Prosecutors believe the public officials from Yerevan municipality, Culture Ministry and Cadasatre Committee were involved in the corruption between 2002-2018. The Investigative Committee will launch an investigation to gather more data.
Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is working on a new "Social Emergency" system. They want to involve various charity organizations and volunteers to create a program that'll help low income people with mental health services, personal care, lawyer services, shelter, household items.
1Q19 vs 1Q18. There have been 5.6% more marriages.
A diasporan businessman's story
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2019.03.05 02:33 ar_david_hh Anti-Corruption March/4/2019: Municipality, lawsuits, garbage bins, Taron Margaryan foundation, laundering, narcotics could be de-criminalized for some cases, Pashinyan in Belgium, tariffs, George Soros, carnival, Azerbaijan, Iran, Armenia

Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
The police have arrested Vanadzor municipality worker during a bribery sting operation.
Health Minister Torosyan's legal team is accusing a judge of favoritism in favor of Serj's relative and the former St. Gregory Illuminator director Minasyan.
Last year the ministry uncovered hundreds of millions worth embezzlement and abuse of power by the administration, in forms of subsidy abuse. The director sued the Minister, claiming defamation.
Minister asked the judge to suspend the lawsuit because in order to present the evidence that Minasyan knowingly defrauded the state, Ministry would have to get the papers from the prosecutors showing all the data. The prosecutors couldn't give the data to the Ministry at the time, because the investigation isn't over yet, so the papers can't be made public yet.
Ministry then asked the judge to request a closed door court hearing so the prosecutors could give the secret data. The judge has refused that too. The Minister's lawyer says the judge is not impartial.
The defense (Ministry) will submit a challenge to the judge.
A bank in Litva "leaked" documents showing how Armenian billionaire Ruben Vardanyan's bank was used by Russian and other oligarchs to launder money, some of which was done through falsifying unsuspecting people's credentials. The transactions involved big names such as Sergey Magnitsky.
The police is looking for this man who offered a large bribe to purchase a medical diploma in Medical University.
Former HHK mayor Taron Margaryan's foundation is bleeding donations and donors. The numbers have significantly reduced last year, especially after his resignation.
The report published by the foundation mentions millions in donations to various programs, but won't clarify who exactly received the funds.
Records show that Yerevan municipality donated 63mln to mayor Margaryan's foundation. The donation practice by the city wasn't new and had been ongoing since the foundation's formation on 2011, when Margaryan wasn't the mayor yet. All together, Yerevan donated 275mln to his charity foundation.
On 2018, Avan district, led by his relative, donated 11.6mln. Another 55.3mln was donated by independent donors. 32.6mln was spent on charities including veterans and social programs, according to the foundation.
During the 2018 revolution, foundation's employees formed groups to physically prevent pro-Pashinyan protesters from Avan from joining the rest of the protests in the Center district. Later, some of them organized meetings to support Margaryan when people begun demanding his resignation.
A confrontation took place between the former police chief Vladimir Gasparyan's (under investigation) activist group led by his assistant Narek Malyan, and a group of student activists from 'Restart'.
As a result, the students decided to dump Malyan in a garbage bin. The incident was recorded on video. The police officers at scene prevented the students' actions. --- video
The police detained, questioned and later released 6 student activists, and invited 1 more for questioning. The authorities will press hooliganism charges. - - - -
The student activists have accused Malyan of months-long provocations and defamation towards them and their families. They are willing to take responsibility for their actions.
Pashinyan has condemned the use of physical force. Says the idea is against democracy and the nation.
Critics of the Restart student activist group (which actively participated against Serj regime) have long criticized the group and wanted to know who their donors are, pointing fingers to George Soros' foundation. One of such Restart critics was Yerevan State University's administration, against whom the Restart held protests in past.
As it turns out ironically, George Soros has donated 325mln to the University itself.
The police has found the burglars who broke into Manvel Grigoryan's son's house weeks earlier. 3 of them are arrested, 1 is on the run. The stolen items have been mostly recovered.
Pashinyan is in Belgium. Met universities, discussed cooperation in high-tech area. Rectors have been invited to visit Armenia to participate World Tech Congress, which will be held in Armenia this year.
Memorandum was signed between Armenian ministries, high-tech companies and their Belgian counterparts.
Health Ministry has proposed to de-criminalize the use of substances classified as narcotics and psychedelics, for research purposes only. The practice was banned on 2010. The Ministry believes decriminalization can help the scientific community.
The final contracts to build a $250mln thermal electric plant in Yerevan have been signed. The construction will begin this month, and will last 2 years, employe 1,100 people, 230 permanently.
When finished, it'll produce electricity that's cheaper than other similar plants, providing 8bln annual savings to the state.
Armenian judoist Styopa Darbinyan defeats his Azeri opponent to win Bronze in European championship held in Turkey.
Greco-Roman European and world champion wrestler Maxim Manukyan wins Gold in the international competition held in Bulgaria.
Men earn 35% more than women in Armenia. Russia 30%, Netherlands 40%, Pakistan 62%. Panama/Honduras 0%, Romania/Bulgaria/Philippines 2%. In Thailand and Sierra Leone women earn up to 5% more.
Iranian FM has responded to Azeri hysteria, which was caused by Pashinyan's latest trip to Iranian-Armenian community, during which Artsakh Republic flag was waved and a slogan said "Artsakh is Armenia, the end".
Ministry basically said that Iran wants Azerbaijan and Armenia to keep their conflict away, Armenians shouldn't use slogans like that which can cause disturbances in Iran, and that it doesn't have any effect on Iran's relations with either nation.
Iranian police has arrested 29 bizimdir activists for hooliganism, after they chanted anti-Armenian slogans and burned the Armenian flag during a soccer match.
Iranian media outlet has exposed a state-sponsored Azeri propaganda around Khojali events. An Azeri museum in Iran featured a photo of an Armenian woman kneeling in a Syrian desert during the 1915 Armenian genocide, and attempted to present it as a Khojali event. The media outlet also mentions about Azeri authorities exaggerating the death count in Khojali to fit a state-sponsored propaganda.
(The Armenian woman's photo was taken from the US Library of Congress.)
There are 5300 Iranian businesses in Armenia. They are 36% of all foreign businesses. Trade between two nations grew 40% on 2018, and it's in the top 5 list of trade partners. 3rd electricity delivering grid is being built to deliver Armenian electricity to northern Iran.
160,000 Iranian tourists visited Armenia last year.
Iran is in the process of signing a trade cooperation deal with EAEU. Once Armenia and Kyrgyzstan sign it, the trade between Iran and Armenia can increase, says a Minister.
At the moment, there are high tariffs for products entering Iran. Those will be reduced for EAEU members, including Armenia. This will affect over 300 various products.
Azerbaijani authorities arrested an Azeri man with a Russian citizenship for filming a village where his Armenian friend's mother used to live before Karabakh war. The woman wanted to see how the village looked like today, and asked his son's friend to take a video. The man was accused of "filming for Armenians". The police removed the footage from his camera and later released him from detention.
Sumgait massacres events timeline.
Austrian government has banned the hand gesture displayed by the Turkish terrorist movement Grey Wolves. The organization has a lengthy record of organizing political assassinations and other terrorist attacks, including against Pope of Vatican. The violators will be fined 4,000 Euros or see 1 month of jail time for the first offense, and E10,000 for subsequent violations.
The goal is to limit the spread of terrorism in Austria. Turkish government has condemned the law.
Armenian humanitarian staff in Syria has begun de-mining part of a 30 sq/km land in Northern Syria. The team consisted of 83 people will spend several months in the country.
Brazilian carnival had a dedicated segment featuring the Armenian history and culture.
Photo video:
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2019.02.28 00:25 ar_david_hh Ant-Corruption Feb/27/2019: $239 million so far

Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
Earlier we learned that Serj's brother Alexander Sargsyan returned (officially "donated") 9bln to the state. The accurate number was 9.6bln, and it was given directly to the Artsakh army.
NSS has also confirmed that the former IRS chief has returned 9.8bln worth property, in the form of the Golden Palace hotel.
In a related case, which NSS didn't clarify, 3bln was returned to the budget. The NSS chose not to disclose all the details because the perpetrator fully cooperated with the NSS, admitted the guilt, and returned the funds. (NSS has a policy of prioritizing funds recovery over felony prosecution)
NSS says 22bln in stolen funds have been recovered so far by them. They have uncovered 32bln in embezzlement and abuse of power since the May of 2018.
(These numbers are from NSS alone. Other agencies report separately.)
General prosecutor releases numbers. Corruption busts have gone up multiple times on 2018.
84.8bln in damages done to the state uncovered. 27.7bln of it recovered so far. 6.9bln assets are currently frozen. 241mln returned voluntarily.
Scandals around the Yerevan State University administration continue.
A professor says 30,000 books were either stolen or missing. A US-based professor, who donated 30,000 books to the University earlier so the students could use them, says that during his recent visit to Armenia he discovered that most of the books weren't available to students. They were either stolen, sold or neglected by the University administration.
The Univ professor says she plans to involve the Univ's Board of Trustees.
An SOC agent who was arrested by NSS for allegedly abusing his powers to help a competitor medical provider to win an auction, has not accepted a guilt. He insists that the actions were lawful and it was done to improve the competition in the dialysis equipment sales to hospitals. He says the company in question had been the only one to win contracts for a long time, and the standards for the auction were set up in a way that would only allow that company to win.
The court has rejected the defendant's petition to be released, citing his arrest as lawful.
We learned earlier that the Health Minister contacted the NSS to ask them intervene in agent's audits of dialysis transactions, citing fears that the supplies would be cut off and place patients' lives at risk, as well as disagreement about the monopoly claim.
Lernavan, Lori school director is charged with an embezzlement of 4mln state funds. You know exactly how that happened.
Parliament speaker Ararat Mirzoyan is in Russia. During a speech on front of Russian Parliament, Mirzoyan criticized some Russian lawmakers, who are a member of Russian-Armenian relations committees, for participating in anti-Armenian projects in Azerbaijan.
After Sanitek's inability to properly clean up the city, Yerevan mayor announced that the city will buy 24 vehicles and become a competitor for Sanitek. Russian Kamaz trucks were purchased. Yerevan municipality's opposition has criticized the move, saying other trucks with higher standards should have been purchased because of regulations. The municipality responded saying they have sent auction notification to 20 companies. Kamaz was chosen because it met the regulatory requirements, and it saved the city 175mln.
(Because Armenia is part of EAEU economic bloc, some vehicle engine standards will increase beginning mid-2019. Euro-5 standard will replace Euro-3.)
During an Azeri arts festival in Berlin dedicated to Khojali events, the gallery hosted a painting of a photo taken by an Armenian photographer Sargis Hacpanyan showing an Armenian soldier hugging an Azeri grandma on the April of 1993 in Qarvachar region, after the Azeris retreated, leaving behind the vulnerable civilians in villages.
Azeri court has convicted an Armenian civilian Karen Ghazaryan, who has never served in the army as shown by records, who has a recorded mental health issues and was a patient in a nearby hospital, to 20 years in prison, after he wandered away from the bordering village at night and crossed the Azeri border. The Azeri authorities added fabricated charges such as terrorism, to increase his sentence.
Pashinyan: On February 27th of 1988, hundreds of Armenians in Azerbaijan were killed and forced to leave. It was in response to peaceful Armenian protests in Nagorno Karabakh, by which they were defending their right for self determination. Today we remember the victims of Sumgayit massacres.
Pashinyan is in Iran. He said Armenia cares about the sanctions placed against Iran because of close ties. Armenia was one of the first countries who welcomed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Armenia is willing to play its part to help both sides of Iran-West conflict to find solutions.
Iran's Rouhani has praised the AM-IR relations, and thanked Pashinyan for his stance on the sanctions against Iran, saying that two countries should have unobstructed relations.
Rouhani reminded about the strong relations in tourism, culture, politics. He hopes to make trade relations as strong. Iran is helping to build a new hydro power plant in Meghri, Armenian (southern border with Iran), so both countries can increase gas-for-electricity exchange. They discussed that during the meeting with Pashinyan.
They discussed a possibility of trilateral relations when it comes to gas trade, and expressed willingness to export gas to Georgia through Armenia. Gas talks also included Iran-Armenia-Georgia-Russia cooperation possibility.
Iran has agreed to participate in Armenia's North-South state-wide highway project, to improve the roads, and to improve the truck traffic flow between two nations.
Iran is willing to improve the high-tech cooperation with Armenia.
Pashinyan and Rouhani have agreed to hold further Ministry-level meetings to discuss a bigger trade route, which connects the Persian Gulf to Black Sea through Armenia.
Pashinyan: has thanked Iran for being welcoming to Iranian-Armenian community. Said that Armenia is in process of ratifying the EAEU trade bloc cooperation agreement with Iran. This will increase the trade vectors between two countries. Pashinyan has welcomed Iran's willingness to deliver more gas, and wants to negotiate the price. This meeting is about establishing a bigger trade strategy for the whole region, said Pashinyan, noting that Armenia is willing to play as a gas transit country.
A memorandum was signed between Pashinyan and Rouhani, various Ministries, including FMs.
Deputy PM Tigran Avinyan met a Chinese company delegation, which plans to invest 49bln. They want to create storage facilities for various products to be stored during EAEU, EU, etc trade process. It'll employ 400 people.
The company also plans to create factories to produce aluminum products, furniture.
The court has rejected Manvel Grigoryan's bid to post a 20mln bail. He will remain in jail. He is charged with stealing 101mln worth property, avoiding 1.2bln in taxes, wasting 1.2bln in state resources, stealing a 37mln worth property.
President Sarkissian was earlier in France when he invited French THALES aurospace and defense Corp administration to visit Armenia. Today they visited and discussed investment possibilities. Sarkissian pitched some ideas citing the fact that the number of startups is high in Armenia, and it has numerous prestigious Western and Russian universities.
The company found Armenia's relations with Russia/Asia important and will try to do business with Armenia, and with Armenia's partners through Armenia.
Education Minister Arayik Harutyunyan says the government plans to use some of its saved funds to give a pay raise to teachers this year. Those who go though a re-training could see their salaries go up by as much as 50%.
Education Minister says he has created a committee to review how the March 1st 2008 events are presented in school books, because they found an inaccurate information in them. The committee is consisted of specialists from Universities, schools, as well as those who have brought the complaint.
Miki is on fire. 1 goal and 1 goal assists. Arsenal 3:1 Bournmouth
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2019.02.25 22:42 ar_david_hh Anti-Corruption Feb/25/2019: official arrested, IRS, antibiotics in meat to be banned, lots of news, twice as much fake news.

Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
Hrazdan municipality's former tax department chief has been detained and charged with felony embezzlement of 138mln.
Financial audits of the past 4 years have revealed a systematic abuse of funds from land and property taxes.
The IRS has busted a Khaldi Co food and service chain with allegedly under-declaring the number of workers (e.x., preparing food without having registered cooks), the hours they work, the amount of revenue they make, with the intention of hiding the true size of revenue to pay less taxes.
The company went to social media and tried to present the IRS enforcement as an attempt to harm their business, before being called out by IRS for misleading the public.
IRS wants the company to make their financial info public, so the public can verify.
Justice Minister says Kocharyan's lawyer spread a lie during a conference, during which he states that Pashinyan administration is allegedly attempting to purposely lose the 'Pashinyan Citizen vs Armenian Government' lawsuit in ECHR.
Pashinyan sued the government years ago for allegedly having his Constitutional rights violated. The case was submitted to ECHR during the previous administration, and the talking points by the Armenian government were presented by the previous administration's agent last year, says the Justice Minister.
The ECHR has already found that Kocharyan regime had violated multiple other people's rights, some of whom were tortured by the police after the March 1st murders.
The government has proposed regulating antibiotics that are mixed in cattle food, because excessive use can pose health dangers for consumers and can weaken antibiotics' potency when it's used on humans for legitimate reasons.
Ministry says they made antibiotics obtainable only through prescriptions last year, because people would take them without knowing whether they had a virus or a bacterial infection.
Last year Pashinyan encouraged the banks to annual the "unplayable" debts to help ease off the burden on the poor. The banks had responded by "pardoning" 19,000 citizens and their debt worth 9bln. Bank representatives encourage the public to use the loaning system more responsibly in future.
The number of Armenians who sought asylum in EU has dropped 3x on 2018 vs 2017.
2018 asylum seekers by country: Georgia 8275, Azerbaijan 2580, Armenia 2190.
Details and images about the proposed new metro station in Yerevan.
Metro is 40 years old. It is the cleanest and fastest transport. The last station was opened on 1996 in Charbakh. The new proposed station is a business project that will involve private investors, which means the state won't have to borrow all the funds. The city plans to let the investors build a shopping mall and new apartments near the new station as one way to generate a revenue to compensate the building cost.
Ajapnyak is where the new station will be built. The train will cross the gorge (possibly through a new bridge) and stop near a proposed mall, which will have a high foot traffic. There are some nearby residential buildings which are close to being obsolete, and this project can solve that problem too with the building of the new apartments.
Some investors have agreed with the proposal.
Men who are 27 and haven't served in the military have the right to pay a penalty to the Defense Ministry to have their names removed from the wanted list. LHK has proposed extending the law, which was set to expire this year, and has received a favorable response from the government.
Around 10,000 men have so far paid 11bln to have their records cleared. Over 3,225 men between the ages of 27-35 are currently wanted by the police (total 10,000). Anyone above 35 gets their names automatically removed from the wanted list because 35 is when the draft ends.
Film producer Hovhannes Galstyan has agreed to end the hunger strike after Education Minister promised to begin new negotiations around the infamous movie funding story which begun on 2017.
Parliamentary committee of public affairs has voted 5-4 to reject a BHK proposed plan to provide workers a new ability to form independent worker unions.
The reason for rejection is that the current law already provides that ability, and the new one would complicate things for the existing unions.
Today marks the 31st anniversary of government-enabled massacres of Armenians living in Sumgayit, Azerbaijan.
Burglars stole items, cloths and a Winchester shotgun from Manvel's son's house. He is the former Ejmiatsin mayor.
January month's economic numbers compared to January/2018.
Construction up 22%. Energy production down 26%. Service industry up 16%. Trade turnover up 19%. External trade down 7.6%. Industry down 0.4%. Salaries up 4.1%, consumer price index up 0.6%.
Average private sector salary is 185k (up 1.8%). Average salary for government worker 149k (up 6.5%).
Trade with Iran rose by ~37% on 2018 vs 2017.
http://www.irna.ien/News/83222470 ---
Soghakat village's solar farms will expand by private investors. Capacity to increase from 3MW to 13MW. Hundreds of temporary and dozens of permanent jobs to be created.
City of Smiles charity organization ran by first lady Anna Hakobyan has published the transparency report of donors.
Hayastan Himnadram has denied the report by that the organization itself donated 30mln to the charity. The funds were donated by the patent organization based in US, which has the right to donate to various charity initiatives.
The biggest donor was Zangezur copper factory. Notable donors were former oligarch Lfik Samo, and Dodi Gago's family. Some public-funded organizations have used alternative income sources (from non-gov) to donate 100k and 400k sums.
The organization is tasked with providing cancer and other types of care for children. ----
Your daily Fake News alert:
Health Minister denies the social media rumors that the government plans to completely ban cigarette smoking and to allow weed.
Kocharyan allied has been caught with another misinformation piece, this time about the first lady Anna Hakobyan.
Hakobyan flew to Switzerland with PM Pashinyan who was attending the Davos meeting. Politik incorrectly labeled the trip as a "leisure, which costed the taxpayers $16,000".
FIP research shows: no extra ticket fare was spent by Hakobyan because she flew in the same plane as PM. Because she wasn't going to participate in Davos, her name wasn't listed in the list of attendees, which later caused a confusion among the media (partially due to a poor communication). Because she wasn't a Davos participant, the government didn't spend funds for the things that they usually spend on participants.
Moreover, she stayed in the same hotel with the PM and didn't pay for an extra room. A room for two people in that hotel happens to cost as much as a room for 1 person, which further proves that Politik manipulated the facts.
FIP: Russian REN-TV has published a fake news video about Kocharyan, to portray him as a political prisoner.
The media outlet incorrectly stated that Rob was arrested immediately after declaring his return to politics, to create the illusion that his return was the reason for his charges.
The video incorrectly states that the official reason for his arrest is an "illegal declaration of emergency", it then shows angry mob videos to justify the emergency declaration. In reality, Rob is accused of colluding with others to overthrow the Constitutional order (including by illegally using the military).
The video incorrectly states that international monitors found the election process democratic. In reality, OSCE concluded that democratic norms weren't respected, which has shed a doubt on the whole process, which resulted in big problems. (Source:
Video doesn't mention about the 10 people who were killed, how and why they were killed. It also fails to clarify that the weapons that were allegedly found among peaceful protesters in the morning of March 1st was a falsification by the police forces.
REN-TV incorrectly states that Pashinyan told NSS leader to "finish the Rob's case", and makes it appear as the arrest was an order by Pashinyan.
During the misleading video, Rob's layers complain that the case contains materials worth 76 books, for which they were only given 50 days to examine. The accepted practice is that lawyers spend 1 day to examine 1 book. Because Rob is suspiciously rich and could afford to hire multiple lawyers, the 50 days are more than enough to get to know the charges, says FIP (without the Rob is suspiciously rich part). ---- OCSE report
REN's video:
Viral hoax: If you saw a photo of a barefoot kid on a snow on Facebook with a plea to find her, do know the photo wasn't taken in Armenia.
Another viral fake news was that allegedly people were distributing narcotic-filled candy to kids on the streets near schools. The police wasn't able to find any such case.
Some people are tasked with finding and exposing fake news on social media
Back to real news
Miki is back in the game. He scored a goal and gave a pass that resulted in a goal. During the game, Armenian-British company BetConstruct, an Arsenal partner, ran an ad featuring the Armenian flag across the ad banners.
Video of goals:
French actor Samy Naceri, known in Armenia for his role in the movie series "Taxi", has visited Yerevan with his brother to attend a mixed martial arts fight. He was a friend with Charles Aznavour and decided to sing during the press conference
Gagik Tsarukyan almost broke Naceri's back
Two Armenian fighters won European titles
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2019.02.23 03:57 ar_david_hh Anti-Corruption 2/22/19

Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
NSS boss said they caught a Food Safety State Service official while taking a bribe. We have more details. Several employees were involved, including the chief of the Shirak department, who is now told not to leave the country after being charged. They allegedly closed the eye on unsanitary conditions and transportation violations by food centers, in exchange for bribes. ------
Deputy military commissar of Gegharquniq has been arrested for bribery and abuse of power, after NSS caught him while accepting a $1,000 bribe he took to declare a healthy recruit as unfit for military.
IRS has begun inviting singers and show business workers to its headquarters to help them prepare to begin paying taxes. Several producers showed up.
The agency notified few months earlier that tax paying practice was poor among show business stars, and it would begin to enforce the laws beginning April 20. The agency will issue them Tax IDs proving that they paid taxes, because they don't get paid with regular paychecks from which the taxes can be deducted.
IRS will also tax diaspora Armenian performers who travel to Armenia for a concert and receive a revenue from Armenian tickets sales.
Gyumri state-run kids' boxing school director is charged with a felony embezzlement of 23mln by falsifying employment records between 2013-2018.
The Justice Ministry has proposed a change in law to provide 2 months of social aid to prisoners who are just released from the detention, so they can find a job and reduce the likelihood of a repeated crime.
Armenian police will begin installing cameras and audio recorders in interrogation rooms as part of a humanitarian project partially funded by UNESCO, meant to reduce detainee abuse. The pilot program will begin from 10 police stations.
Artsakh army denies the Azeri reports that they shut down an Armenian drone in Aghdam region. The images provided by the Azeri side showed an older incident. The fake news was circulated now, because OCSE was supposed to conduct a border monitoring on that day, says the army.
Ministry of Nature Protection has proposed a law to ban free non-reusable plastic shopping bag handouts in markets. The bags will need to be sold beginning June, 2019. Beginning 2020 there will be a new tax on it. No sales permitted after 2022.
Some supermarkets have been charging 10 Drams for a bag for a while now.
Environmental activist Levon Galstyan says Lydian Armenia is misleading the public with its claims that Amulsar road shutdown and checks are the reason why they are losing a projected revenue, and are unable to prevent the nearby melting snow water from being spoiled.
Here is the environmentalist's opinion:
"Lydian received a license to dig gold on 2009. They stopped the extraction on 2010 due to their internal problems.
The government re-approved their license on 2012 and 2014. The Lydian then failed to build the necessary pipes to extract. The government did not ask them why they weren't working.
On 2017, they announced that they'll be ready to extract by the Spring of 2018. This means they expected the water drain pipe constructions and their own environmental checks to be finished by then.
However, they never finished building the necessary projects, yet they claim that they are losing revenue and can't clean up the waters because of a road shutdown by activists that took place long after the date they were supposed to be ready.
On 2018, before the roads were closed, Lydian already announced that they needed $50mln more to continue their work because of certain problems." -----
Lydian Armenia disputes the claims, says 80% of water pipes are build. Environmentalists don't believe those numbers written in papers, saying that the previous government never checked to verify any of it, and also Lydian ignored the demands of nearby residents.
Lydian says the delays with their work was due to them conducting environmental research to comply with law, which were changed while the study was being done, which prompted a new research, which ended on 2016.
Education Ministry will split the future school books into multiple volumes so the kids won't have to carry a heavy load. Backpack weight will be cut in half, says Araik Harutyunyan.
Education Ministry and grandmaster Smbat Lputyan want to address the complaints around the chess classes (taught between 2-4 grades) in schools.
Studies conducted since 2012 show that kids who took the classes ended up performing overall better in school, than those who didn't take the classes. Lputyan says this was the goal of the implementation on 2012.
Most complaints are about teachers not being familiar with the materials that needs to be taught, grades being too low, and parents being unable to help kids with homework.
1278 parents participated in a survey. 70% think chess helps their kid. 38% of kids are able to solve chess homework independently. 29% of parents can't help kids with homework because they themselves don't know chess well. Some parents want the classes to begin from the 3rd grade.
Only 4 parents wanted chess to be removed from the curriculum. Chess was on the top 3 list of favorite subjects by kids.
Offshore king Mihran Poghosyan's (being investigated) Ketrin Group business has not been doing well. It is facing legal bankruptcy after a business partner sued it for a 25mln debt.
The prosecutors will challenge the Lower court verdict, which approved the arrest of several participants of Partez restaurant deadly brawl but denied the arrest of a former MP Melik Manukyan's son and 8 others. They want all 9 to be detained. 19 people are charged.
The MP's son and his friends got into an argument with Dodi Gago's son's buddies in a gas station, which evolved into a deadly fight later.
Drama Alert!
Ejmiatsin mayor, who was elected last year replacing Manvel Grigoryan's son, will sue a Facebook user for an alleged defamation and false information, seeking an apology and compensation which she plans to donate to kindergartens.
Screenshot :
Foreign workers in Armenia. There are 4,600 of them (0.8% of workers). Civilnet reports that the process which lets foreigners find a job in Armenia is flawed.
Before accepting a foreigner to work, the employer has to take his passport to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
For most foreign workers, they are still in their home countries when they look for a job in Armenia. This means the worker has to send his real passport to Armenia, have the employer take care of papers, then receive the passport back through mail, then use it to travel to Armenia. It is suggested to accept the photo-copies of passports instead.
If the employer wants a foreign worker, it must contact the corresponding government agency tasked with labor search, which has to send the employer the list of available foreign workers within 5 days. It is proposed to make the time-frame 10 days.
Few other proposed reforms to prevent situations when a worker will arrive then find himself jobless and money-less.
Defense Ministry says there is an interest towards the Armenian military equipment presented during the recent IDEX military expo held in Adu Dhabi 🍿. This was the first time Armenia participated in it.
Armenian weapons were: "Electro-optic countermeasure system 3K01 Pancratic sniper sight 3*9 Sniper Rifle K-8 Thermal imaging gunner sight for T72A tank Inductive mine detector RIA-1 Bulletproof vest GS-47/0717 Various types of reconnaissance UAVs, all in final stages of development, with proven technologies Military and tactical boots MJ-25 sectoral search semi-stationary VHF radar (Model 1:10) Microwave transistor amplifier for target detection HFAS-75G"
Russian Komsersant writes that Pashinyan has refused to accept the Belarus representative as the new CSTO military chief for the remainder of 2019, which is when the Armenia's term is supposed to expire.
Russian FM says there are "no operational issues or frustrations" in the bloc. The Russian delegation is temporarily leading it until 2020.
Russian Nezovisimaya Gazeta writes that Pashinyan and Aliyev are preparing their nations for peace. The paper notes that anti-Armenian rhetoric within Azerbaijan has significantly decreased in recent times, while Armenian FM issued press credentials to an Azeri journalist from Turan agency who visited Yerevan.
The Turan journalist who visited Armenia has written several articles about it. FIP says he misreported several facts.
FIP: Hajiyev cannot accept the fact that Turkish authorities organized and killed up to 1.5mln people, so he tries to find "reasons" behind it. For example, he asks whether Armenians living in Turkey were supporting Russians, and whether a nation (Turkey) had the right to defend itself. By doing so, Hajiyev denies the historical fact and puts the genocide blame on the civilian victims themselves.
This is on-par with the Turkish position. They also present the Van defense battle out of context, and as a rebellion, to justify the military actions by Turks.
The author does, however, say that even if Van was a rebellion, that would not have given Turks the right to kill civilians.
Hajiyev was also complaining that Armenians were presenting a few allegedly Azeri historical monuments and buildings as Iranian. Example, the Blue Mosque in Yerevan. It was built on the 18th century by Iranian Nader Shah when Armenia was part of Iran, in the form of Yerevan Khanate. The Khanate had Iranian, Kurdish, Azeri and Armenian population. It is inaccurate to refer to the Mosques as Azeri.
Another monument that Hajiyev believes is Azeri, is Karakoyunlu (translated: black sheep) monument, dedicated to Turkmen Oghuz leaders. Turkmen delegation was present during its restoration ceremony on 2002 in capital Yerevan. The monument was first built 600 years ago
The author also attempted to portray a big division between Armenia and Artsakh. For example, Pashinyan and Russian-Armenian businessman Samvel Karapetyan who is from Artsakh. Author said Karapetyan refused to attend Pashinyan's swearing-in ceremony, but it's unclear what he meant because there is no such ceremony in which guests are invited in the old fashion. Pashinyan formed a new ceremony during which only Ministers and the PM are present during the pledge. There used to be a big ceremony back when Armenia was a presidential country.
(What the author probably meant is that several Kremlin-loyal Russian-Armenian businessmen expressed dissatisfaction with Kremlin ally Kocharyan being arrested, and some "redundant" government-funded foundations run by them being shut down by Pashinyan, so they expressed dissatisfaction, which later subsided down with one of the businessman expressing his support and investments under the new government.)
(FIP link contains 6 links to Hajiyev articles)
Artsakh capital Stepanakert will have 500 new 2-3-4 bedroom apartments by 2020. It'll be targeted towards middle class citizens, who will be able to buy with subsidies from the government and private donors. Families with more kids will have more discounts and lower interest rates.
Թըըըշվառ աաաանտեեեեր Հաաաայաաաաստաաան. People are split whether they want the anthem to be changed.
Աաաազաատ անկաաախխ Սիիիմոոնյաաաան
MP Alen Simonyan, who stirred the topic of the anthem being changed, is officially annoyed by all of you. He wants you to stop discussing the anthem change. Says he only proposed it to have a brief public discussion with no specific legislation, but it turned into a 24/7 badgering for him.
Turkish-Armenian MP Garo Paylan speaks in Western Armenian during a mini-Majlis session. (calls for minorities including Armenians to feel free to use their native languages)
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2019.02.14 22:13 ar_david_hh Anti-Corruption Feb/14/2019

Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
The investigators have concluded the preliminary investigation of Manvel Grigoryan case. New charges were pressed against him.
Here is the latest list: possession of illegal weapons, theft of 101mln worth property, avoiding 1.3bln in taxes, wasting 1.2bln from the state, extortion of 37mln, colluding with officials to avoid taxes, falsification of documents.
Moreover, the criminal scheme was allegedly coordinated with his family members, including his son, who is now wanted by the police for helping to steal 101mln from Yerkrapah organization through his company. This son is not to be confused by his other son who was Ejmiatsin mayor.
Article contains the full list of weapons and tushonkas found in his house, and how exactly he stole them (some of which were also found in his wife's home) . - - - -
$9 billion was laundered out of Armenia between 2004-2013, says Transparency International.
A former FBI agent gave a talk during Helsinki committee, during which he said the United States can help Armenia to return the funds, if the Armenian government cooperates and provides evidence of theft. The process would take several years to complete, and some of the funds would be impossible to trace and return. The US is willing to do its part, said former agent Brian Earl.
Thank you Brian. Really cool.
BHK Gagik Tsarukyan's chief bodyguard beat someone last year. He was arrested and charged. Court later released him under 20mln bail.
The investigators have concluded the investigation and decided to send the case to prosecutors to press charges against him. He is currently serving as a BHK MP after being elected on 2018 parliamentary elections.
Mayor Hayk Marutyan has fired the director of Yerevan Bus transport organization and instructed its 70 new and unused buses to be put to use. Mayor says he doesn't understand why people travel standing while there are so many unused cars left, especially since there are no driver shortages anymore.
The city plans to expand the route lanes and make reforms for workers before the new city-run transport system is built. The British company tasked with assessing the cost/plan for the new system will present the report within a few months.
The police has opened a felony corruption charges against several Ushi municipality administrators for stealing 3.2mln from the budget
Vayq school director faces criminal charges for hiring family members as employees and stealing 2.5mln in salaries, while they did not attend to work.
Third day of PM being grilled in Parliament:
Pashinyan got mad again during the session. He criticized the "old mentality" that not everyone can do business or entrepreneurship in Armenia.
Criticized some media headlines for misreporting his words. Earlier he said "poverty is in our mind" and brought his own example and how his family was poor. Some outlets reported it as "Pashinyan says it's your fault that you're poor".
He also criticized MPs who accused the government branch of having too many powers, while at the same time saying that the government should do all the business that he (Pashinyan) believes an ordinary citizen/private sector is supposed to do.
(Context: He is trying to change people's mindset to promote the idea that everyone can and should actively do business and be more economically active. His speech was accused by the opposition of sounding as if the poverty is only people's fault.)
The opposition has accused the government of not doing enough to progress the EU-Armenia deal.
Pashinyan denied the claim, saying there have been numerous public appearances and discussions with EU representatives who supported the deal, and that Armenia's relations with EU are better after the revolution.
(In the past several months, the EU representative and German side expressed willingness to support and speed up the process. Several other nations have declared they will ratify the deal in their parliaments. The EU countries must ratify the EU-ARM comprehensive cooperation deal before it's fully enacted).
The opposition has accused Pashinyan government of appointing one of its allies as a university rector whose salary is 800k.
Pashinyan accused the critics of misinformation, and doesn't understand why a worker who manages a university shouldn't earn that kind of salary. Says even a small business can offer more to do managing work of that scale. Accused the critics of ignoring that over 300 workers in the university receive a pay rise.
He also spoke a lot about the need to pay taxes, with some Christian history twist. Take it away...
Details about that university rector appointment story. LHK (Lusavor Hayastan) leader Edmon Marukyan accused Education Minister Araik Harutyunyan of appointing his close ally to Argrarian University's rector's position, and a possible corruption involving rector's salary, which was increased.
The Argarian University has called this a misinformation by the MP. They say the rectors aren't appointed by the Ministry, but are elected by the university's board. This particular person was elected unanimously, and he isn't a relative or a close friend of the Minister, said university.
The Univ has also defended the size of the rector's 855k salary, saying it is a fair compensation for the type of work, and will further reduce after taxes. They have also given a raise to 330 other university workers. University does not agree that the salary rise for the rector and 330 workers is a corruption. Their rector's salary is lower than for similar positions in other universities, notes the Agrarian response.
The university says Marukyan's sources of info are also inaccurate on other instances. The university does not have departments with only one employee and one manager, and that Marukyan's sources might have referred to two new departments which currently have many employees and one vacant job spot in each department, says the university.
More in the article.
Pashinyan repeated that 90% of the media in Armenia is owned by the "corrupt old regime", yet they don't go after them to shut them down. Says yesterday he received a report from an international organization (didn't disclose which) that agreed with his assessment that the government is not censoring news.
The Parliament has voted 82-37 in favor of the government's program, after questioning the PM for three days. BHK and LHK voted against it.
European ECHR court has ruled that the Armenian government and all 3 courts violated 6 farmers' property rights by taking their lands and not properly compensating them. The incident took place 10 years ago when Teghut mine was being built.
Another ECHR ruling was made against Armenian courts, which failed to do an adequate job in a workevacation related case which begun on 2011 and lasted several years.
The Judicial Board consisted of other judges has held a meeting and suspended Judge Araik Melkumyan, after accepting Justice Ministry's petition few months ago. No specific details as to why, yet. The board had earlier warned another judge for making violations during a court hearing involving a former March 1st investigator.
The prosecutors have made 30% fewer demands for an arrest on 2018 vs 2017.
For the first time, Armenia will have an agricultural insurance system. The Ministry of Agriculture is currently providing training to future insurance agents. The talks about creating an insurance begun last year after the government provided an aid to farmers for damages caused by hail.
Film producer Hovhannes Galstyan urges the government to follow the contract it signed with his movie studio on 2016, and to pay the money he believes the government owes to the film.
On 2016, the gov-run Armenian national cinema center and him made an agreement to fund a movie. On 2017, the Ministry of Culture temporarily took some of the money away for other purposes and never returned the funds, and the movie project was halted.
The producer demands the funds to be returned. He has held 2 hunger strikes. He also encouraged the public to donate whatever they can to the film's budget so he can complete it.
The new Ministry of Culture spoke to him on 2018 and suggested to re-negotiate with the national Cinema Center and his international partners so the movie wouldn't be canceled, but the producer has restarted the hunger strike citing lack of progress. media outlet published an article last year accusing Deputy PM Tigran Avinyan and few other collages of smoking marijuana in the government building, and accused Pashinyan of not taking action against it.
Avinyan called it false and defamation, and sued the outlet. He is seeking an apology and 2mln in compensations, which he plans to donate to students with good grades in journalism schools.
The first hearing of the lawsuit has just begun.
Deputy PM Girgoryan met with French representatives and spoke about some business-muisness stuff. The French president Macron has agreed to visit Armenia in the near future.
President Sarkissian's France trip has ended. He is in Germany, where he will meet with city mayor and university administrators. They'll talk about education, TUMO etc.
"Summit of Minds" international meeting with 300 influential politicians, businessmen, entrepreneurs and journalists will he held in Armenia this July, for the first time, after president Sarkissian made an agreement with the organizers last year. It is the first time that the summit is held outside of France.
Georgia has hired Exxon Mobile and another American fuel giant to explore its Black Sea oil and gas reserves. It is believed that Georgia has some reserves that are worth digging.
Georgia currently annually produces 30,000 tons of oil (2.5% of what they consume) and 16.5mln cub meter gas (0.7%).
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2019.01.21 22:54 ar_david_hh Anti-Corruption Jan/21/2019: Preschool director steals food from children // NSS busts IRS agent // Kocharyan lawsuit, misleading video // Satellites begin catching land owners who avoid water bills // Insurance company busted avoiding 200mln // 21 post office employees // Public radio chief // MORE

Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
Another "tushonka" story.
The director of Lapterik preschool has been arrested after police found evidence of embezzlement and abuse of power.
She allegedly stole part of the food dedicated to 120 children, and sent it to a restaurant owned by her family in Jrvej. The police found a batch of food in her office, that was scheduled to be sent to restaurant.
She also stole 13mln through falsifying documents about the number of employees, say authorities.
She is from a family of high ranking officials in various law enforcement bodies. ------
NSS (National Security Services) has found that an IRS employee colluded with businesses to help them avoid border customs duties, legal paperwork, safety checks.
We learned some info about this last week, when IRS chief said they changed the amount of brand new products you can import before being taxed. IRS justified this by saying that some businesses avoid taxation by distributing the load among several citizens, who each take certain amount of product into Armenia, then once on the other side of the border, they gather it all together and hand it to the business.
One customs duty employee, and one private citizen who abused the system to transport 1 tons of goods without taxation, have also been charged.
Kocharyan earlier sued media outlet for defamation. The court has ruled that the media outlet must issue an apology and pay 400k to Kocharyan for writing that the commander of internal forces allegedly admitted that he received an order directly from Kocharyan to open fire towards the crowd on March 1st.
Ararat TV (5th channel), recently purchased by a Kocharyan ally, has released a misleading documentary about March 1st murders, containing false information and distortion of reality.
Clips were shown and taken out of context, says FIP. Documentary provided false information about Levon Ter-Petrosyan's (LTP) resignation reasons, his Artsakh negotiations, and Kocharyan's role in his resignation.
The documentary continued to portray LTP in a bad light as part of justifying Kocharyan's future actions. It suggested that a 2008 polling showed that LTP wasn't in the list of top 5 candidates in the presidential elections. In reality, even official polling contradicted this claim, and the survey used by the documentary was of a low quality, in which 60% of the respondents didn't want to say whom they were going to vote for.
Documentary portrayed Kocharyan as someone who did not care who the next president was going to be, while in reality he heavily backing Serj Sargsyan.
Provided one-sided coverage around the topic of Kocharyan's wealth and didn't press on the origins of his vast network of businesses
Documentary claimed LTP gathered protests on February 19th while the 2008 elections weren't finished yet, while in reality the protests begun on February 20th, says FIP. (this is part of the attempt by the authors to picture Kocharyan's future use of force against sleeping protesters as justified)
The documentary misleads the viewers by suggesting that parts of the army were going to join LTP in organizing revolution, and that Kocharyan prevented it. The truth is, LTP spoke with military leaders to seek assurances that they will not go against the public and will stay out of public affairs. This speech by LTP is recorded on the video and is on YouTube, but in past, pro-Kocharyan propagandists have shown only the first part of this speech in past, attempting to portray as if LTP was asking Manvel Grigoryan and other generals to join LTP. Unfortunately, the army did not keep its promise to LTP to stay impartial.
Documentary cites misleading claims that the police had credible information about weapons in tents, where the peaceful protesters were sleeping, thus attempting to justify the illegal raids. Even Serj's government had failed to conclusively prove this, while under the new administration, the new investigators found evidence that certain officials lied about the weapons.
Documentary continued to justify the raids on peaceful protesters sleeping in tents on 6:40AM on March 1st. In reality, the raids were illegal because the law prohibits raids at such an early time of the morning, and no proper documents were presented by the people who conducted the raids.
Documentary spreads false information about the sleeping early-morning protesters having other forms of non-lethal weapons in an attempt to justify the illegal raids, then the documentary shows videos from later that day, when the protesters did have metal sticks, in an attempt to prove the false claim. In reality, the protesters were armed by sticks and batons only later that day.
Documentary claims Pashinyan (who was an opposition voice at the time) and other opposition leaders were gathering protesters on front of the French Embassy. The wiretapped conversation shows these opposition leaders did not organize the protesters and instruct them to go there, and that they were joining the crowd which was already forming on its own.
In the documentary, Kocharyan misleadingly says that Pashinyan admitted to receiving instructions from LTP to change the protesting tactics, about forming barricades and confronting the authorities. FIP says Pashinyan did not say this.
The Documentary continues to draw a picture in which the lethal force would be justified against the crowd, by interviewing Kocharyan ally David Shahnazaryan (who earlier spread misinformation about QP member Sasun Mikaelyan and his Artsakh battles), who talks about burglary in several shops in Yerevan, and misleadingly blames Pashinyan's crowd for this.
... FIP says this incidents took place in a different area and those weren't member of LTP's protests. Later it was uncovered through courts that HHK's supporters were the participants of the thefts. (I wrote about it here few months ago).
Kocharyan claims in the documentary that when a police car was burned down, guns were stolen from the police officers. Records do not show any criminal cases against any protest participant about this alleged weapon theft.
FIP suggests that in the documentary, Kocharyan is lying about signing emergency situation after learning about wounded policemen and business burglaries. Kocharyan called a press conference at 22:15 to declare the emergency, but records show the burglaries and police casualties happened after the speech, not before.
FIP says there were various other incorrect and misleading parts in the documentary. The infamous 0038 order did not receive proper coverage, which was signed before the election results were published. Documentary twists international election monitor's words. The documentary doesn't properly cover the fact that the military was involved in the process.
Ararat TV (5th channel) was recently purchased by a Kocharyan allyՈվ-է-«Արարատ»-հեռուստաընկերության-նոր-սեփականատերը/343353
During the production of this film, the authors interviewed the relatives of the victims of March 1st murders and politician Aram Manukayan, who wasn't aware that this was going to be a pro-Kocharyan propaganda piece.
Manukyan claims the authors contacted him on Fall, 2018 and asked him to give a few comments for an "unbiased documentary" which was supposed to talk only about the March 1st victims, and wasn't supposed to have a political nature.
The authors then lied to the interviewees, says Manukyan, who condemns "the propaganda piece" in which he was duped into participating. -------- ------------
A former employee of the state oversight committee claims he has evidence of a multi-million dollar money laundering scheme conducted by the previous administration. He claims the laundering was done through Valdai Inc. during the construction of buildings for various Ministries.
He claims another large-scale embezzlement took place. Around $40 million were reserved for installing heating systems in 18,000 low income families. Only 3,000 received the services, while the rest of the money was stolen.
In another instance, he claims that millions of dollars were stolen through Yerevan TPP.
Few months ago, the government announced that it will use satellite images to find irrigated lands, compare them to the database of registered land owners who pay for water, and catch those who do not pay.
The system is now working. It uses GIS sensors to remotely detect the amount of water in a plant, then maps that area as irrigated. The government then adds another layer to the map, showing areas where the owners are currently paying for water. The areas should match. The ones that don't, become a subject of investigation.
Several cheaters have been caught so far, and 5,200 new irrigation contracts have been signed. In a few months, the imaging will cover the whole country and will be updated every 10 days.
Yerevan municipality's Luys fraction has asked the mayor to release employee bonus (premiums) payment data for transparency. The mayor has sent the request to Ministry of Justice to assure publishing names and other data isn't against a law protecting employee privacy.
Two province governors have published their data, showing year-end bonuses being legal, says the opposition Luys member. "It is expected that bonuses are higher in Yerevan due to bigger budget". The governors payed the bonuses from funds saved by theirs offices.
Some argue the governors should not be allowed to give themselves bonuses. Others argue that the bonuses are necessary for a staff with a good performance because the salaries are low. Others argue there should be limits, even if the funds are coming from money that was saved. - - - - - - ----------- ---- ----- -----
Syunik governor denies media rumors that he only rewarded the employees close to him, releases data saying all employees received bonuses. The office saved money throughout the year, then used part of it to provide bonuses, and at the end had 8.8mln left in savings, which was transferred to state budget.
Vayots Dzor governor talks about bonuses. Only the employees with at least 6 month experience qualified for bonuses. His aides and himself did not receive a bonus. The other staff received bonuses equaling 30% of salary. He sees an attempt by certain individuals on social media to try to incorrectly pass this as an example of a corruption.
Mayor Marutyan says he hasn't issued a bonus to himself, and is open to reviewing the process and place more strict limitations on who and how much can receive it.
Mayor says they're in process of recording which elevators need a replacement in the city. Around 3,800 have been identified. It'll take up to 3 years to finish the replacement process.
IRS and Police released a report saying that Nairi Insurance company deliberately avoided 200mln in taxes on 2016-2017. The company is accused of laundering the money through its former employees and other entities affiliated to them, with the intention of showing less revenue.
Criminal case is launched. They're still counting the damage.
The authorities have concluded the investigation of the massive social security corruption scheme in Stepanavan.
21 HayPost post office employees participated in the criminal enterprise. 11 of them were mail delivery employees, 9 high ranking operators, 1 logistics operator. In addition, dozens of social security services employees were charged with various crimes. Two high ranking officials are on the run.
6 cars, 35 houses and 18 bank accounts and assets have been frozen as part of recovering the 550mln damage to the state.
An investigation has been launched against the former chief of public radio, Mark Grigoryan. He is suspected of abuse of power. He quit a month ago after the radio employees signed a petitions demanding his resignation.
Mayor Marutyan held talks with European Daimler Bus (aka Mercedes-Benz) company to familiarize with various options (city plans to revamp the bus network). The company has expressed interest in doing business. It has vehicles operating on liquid gas, fully electric and hybrid.
Mayor says his office closely cooperates with the police. They stopped 9 illegal constructions last week. In two cases, the citizens have begun destroying the structures voluntarily.
More checks will be conducted during the evening time to prevent illegal open food trade on the streets. Mayor says they've seen a noticeable results since January 16th. During a routine check, they found one instance of child labor. The traders are referred to areas where they can conduct business legally.
Mayor Marutyan says the city itself will "compete" against the street cleaning company Sanitek until 2 new competitors are introduced, after Sanitek failed to provide its (garbage collection and) snow cleaning duties promptly. The city purchased KamAz Russian trucks designed to spray salt and plow snow in the winter, and to water the streets in the summer.
Years ago, Sanitek won the exclusive license through legal irregularities (their competitor was themselves) to be the only sanitation business doing the work with the city.
PM Pashinyan is in Switzerland. He held talks with business representatives. One of them presented an investment plan in the energy sector. They were referred to Ministry of Energy for further talks.
PM also spoke with the Swiss-Armenian investor Vardan Armakesh, the founder of Franck Mueller Swiss watches. ----- (full speech
Fuel prices fell by AMD 40 recently, as reported earlier. A fuel importer says it is due to a worldwide trend of price reduction, and that in near future it will go down by another 50 AMD.
In past, duel prices would stay relatively the same even when the world prices were decreasing. In another report few weeks ago, another fuel importer said the price decrease was due to an increased competition among importers.
Health Minister and IRS have agreed to replace the product labels with a safer non-toxic material. The new labels will stick stronger to the product. This is done because some children rip them off and swallow. -----------
Zaruhi Batoyan will replace Mane Tandilyan (now an MP) as the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs. The other ministers have been re-appointed.
US president Trump has congratulated PM Pashinyan with the election. Expressed willingness to improve economic, security, anti-corruption cooperation. The resolution of Artsakh conflict will help these efforts, said Trump.
European PACE has held a session, during which they concluded that the December Parliamentary elections in Armenia were "free and democratic".
Notable improvements were the pre-election transparency, and the 3-hour long live debates between party leaders.
Armenia has a new ambassador in Belarus. President Lukashenko said "Armenia continues to be a reliable partner to Belarus in the economic and defense cooperation".
The United Kingdom has officially ratified the EU-ARM cooperation agreement. It joined the list of Bulgaria, Danmark, Estonia, Livta, Latvia, Luxmeburg, Malta, Poland.
Turlish-Armenian MP Garo Paylan gave an interview to H1 news. Spoke about Turkish Code 301 which was used to persecute journalist Hrant Dink, and now it is used to go after him for allegedly insulting the Turkish state. He denies insulting, says his words are to be interpreted as an opposition figure's dissatisfaction with the government. Says he will continue to advocate for peace.
Karen Grigoryan finishes second in Spanish international chess competition Seville Open
Levon Aghasyan wins Gold in an international athletics competitions held in Kazakhstan
Tennis star Serena Williams, the wife of Reddit co-founder and popcorn 🍿 distribution kingpin Kn0thing, has begun studying Armenian language and culture.
Alexis Ohanian recommends consuming his Armenian brandy with an apricot
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2018.12.21 22:11 ar_david_hh Anti-Corruption Dec/21/2018

Serj's nephew Narek "Gonzalez" Sargysan was recently apprehended by INTERPOL in Prague, and is awaiting a deportation to Armenia.
He is wanted for ordering his 4 bodyguards to kidnap a businessman and force him to give up the idea of creating a night club, which would become a competitor.
Sargsyan's 4 bodyguards were arrested earlier, and the prosecutors have just sent their files to court.
The judge has agreed to release Manvel Grigoryan with a 25mln bail because of health issues. He is charged with possession of illegal weapons, theft of state property, military food and other products. He will await for his trial outside of cell. The defense team argued that Grigoryan could die if kept under the NSS detention. A medical examination had earlier found pre-cancerous warning signs, diabetes and several other problems.
There are 193 liquid gas providing mobile stations in Yerevan. Authorities have discovered that 63 of them are not properly registered in the "potential public hazard" database. 45 of them did not go through safety checks. 12 did not disclose their work to IRS.
60 administrative actions were launched. 32 individuals penalized for 35mln. IRS investigating the 12. Criminal cases launched against 4.
PM Pashinyan will be questioned by a judge on February 2019, in a case involving an armed attacked against him and his Yelq alliance rally members that took place on 2017. He will be questioned as a witness. Pashinyan called the police and recorded a video after the 2017 event. Video below...
2019 Yerevan municipal budget will have 2bln more income from new sources. 4.5bln in expenditures was cut through optimizations. No administrative cuts were made to the transportation branch despite some reports.
They're working with a British company around the transport reforms. International contract signing can take half a year, says the deputy mayor. ----
Mayor Hayk Marutyan says they need 2-4 years to completely reform the transportation system. The system is in a miserable state, many buses and micro buses are in bad shape, because of lack of investments by private route operators, due to the fact that the previous city administration constantly promised they'd change the system by giving different dates but not actually reforming anything. This atmosphere of uncertainty made the route operators not to invest on improvements because they didn't know what would happen to their business a year later.
Mayor Marutyan says he has negotiated with Sanitek garbage plant and they have agreed that a second company is needed to handle the work. A contract, signed years earlier, gave Sanitek the exclusive right to collect trash, which they have been unable to do on a timely manner. Marutyan says the dispute won't reach the courts because of this agreement.
Singer Aram MP3 will be drafted to military as a reserve personal, says the singer. He is a doctor by profession and has the rank of a lieutenant.
The new Christmas Tree lights up in Yerevan main square. It replaces the decades old one. Costed 22mln for the tree, 36mln for lights, 10mln decoration, 2mln installation. It's reusable.
The 71mln cost was used from a 600mln fund that was saved by optimizing some of the Erebuni-2800 festivals. Because the tree and its decorations are reusable, it will save 20mln every year on upkeep, compared to the old tree. In 4 years, 20mln cash will literally grow on its branches. You can collect some by reading a poem to Dzmer Pap.
VIDEO ------- ----- -----
Vaccines may or may not cause autism, but lack of vaccines will cause cancer. You pick your battle wisely my friend!
HPV (Human papillomavirus infection) is an infection that may infect people who are sexually active. Recently, it was discovered that it significantly increases ovarian cancer risks among women. Vaccination campaign was launched in Armenia on 2017, which was met with a resistance by anti-vaccers.
Pashinyan, then opposition MP, participated in a Parliamentary meeting that investigated the vaccinations, and announced he didn't see anything wrong. This year, the first lady announced that she and her girls will receive the vaccination.
The vaccines are used in 100 countries today. In those countries, HVP has been defeated by 90%, while the cancer in female reproductive organs went down 40%.
HVP is also the cause of 50% of penis cancers, 80% of throat and anus cancer. Annually, over 250 Armenian women can avoid HVP-caused cancers if they receive the vaccines.
EU leadership (Donald Tusk and Jan Claude Junker) congratulates Pashinyan with the parliamentary victory. They are looking forward to strengthen the relations with the EU-ARM economic agreement.
Former president of Argentina will be tried in court for allegedly taking dozens of million in bribes.
WTI oil prices fell to $43, while BRENT oil hit $54, the lowest price in over a year. Countries which rely on oil have to calculate their annual budget based on a presumed oil price. Azerbaijan calculates at $60/barrel, while Russia calculated at $40 per barrel.
Georgian former president Mikael Sahakashvili made an interesting statement during his Facebook interview. He said (no other source has confirmed this) that during the Armenian revolution, HHK then-vice president Karen Karapetyan offered $270mln to Pashinyan in jail so he would quit. Pashinyan was so poor at the time, says Sahakashvili, he had a hard time finding fuel money for his car, but he didn't accept the bribe.
This was in response to a Georgian opposition member who said they need lots of money to change the current government of Georgia. Sahakashvili believes revolutions can be done with little money.
A meeting did take place between Karapetyan and Pashinyan, Mirzoyan, Sasun Mikaelyan who were arrested. The next day, Serj quit. No hard evidence that they were offered money.
What is happening between Belarus and Russia?
Belarus-Russia relations have been rocky for a while now. President Alexander Lukashenko is trying to preserve his grip over the country, while trying to keep the country as independent from Russia as possible.
In past, his administration took steps to strengthen the national identity of Belarusians by promoting Belarusian language and traditions over the Russian one. This has made Moscow uneasy, because they see the culture as one way to keep the two countries together. Besides that, a similar pot was boiling in Ukraine, and look what happened between them.
Russia is the biggest economic partner of Belarus, and has provided as much as $100bln in aid. In exchange for this, Russia has been strengthening its authority over Belarus in various ways.
Weeks ago, Russia announced they'll calculate oil tariffs with Belarus differently, which will lead to $12bln loss for Belarus for the next several years.
More recently, Russian PM Dmitriy Medvedev went to Belarus and offered them to essentially partially lose their sovereignty by ceasing ceding control of various institutions to Russia. They offered Belarus to join their courts, finance chamber (Parliament financial body) and border customs with Russia, and even use Ruble, which would avoid the higher oil prices. The headquarters of these joint institutions would be in Moscow, of course.
Some experts and Belarussian media did not take these pressures lightly, and they called this an attempt by Russia to blackmail president Lukashenko and Belarus as a whole. A media outlet in Belarus reports that president Lukashenko went as far as summoning the national security apparatus to discuss the country's future and its sovereignty battle with Russia. (and other sources)
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2018.11.29 22:08 ar_david_hh Anti-Corruption Nov/29/2018: Hospital director charged with embezzlement; another mayor down; pro-Saakashvili candidate loses in Georgia elections; billions of AMD to be invested after tax waivers; (more below)

A criminal case is launched against Masis hospital's former director for embezzlement of large sums, after he registered 4 people as employees who never came to work, stole fuel funds, broke laws while making unauthorized purchases worth dozens of millions, stole the money received through property rent
The NSS and prosecutors have uncovered criminal actions by the former mayor of Aygedzor. He is accused of abuse of power and theft of large quantities of construction materials
While criticizing the previous Armenian leaders, PM Pashinyan says Robert Kocharyan's sons served in the army in Yerevan. One of them was given a job of a driver while the other served in a military building in Yerevan. Kocharyan's son denies, publishes his photo from the frontlines, admits that he received a favorable treatment from the military administration. ----
... during a rally in Gegharquniq, Pashinyan criticized the most popular restaurant in Armenia for not printing sales receipts, thus hiding the real income from the government. Pashinyan called for all businesses to pay their dues.
... Says the government is too big and slow, and some workers will be laid off after the administration helps them to find new jobs.
Ejmiatsin's new mayor says 174,290.6 m2 land in Ejmiatsin, illegally obtained by Manvel Tushonka Grigoryan, will be returned to the city
The government grants a multi-year tax waiver to Artiki Inc. so it can invest AMD 6bln on a textile factory in Shirak province. 112 jobs with avg AMD 180k salary will be created. The factory will produce AMD 1.6bln products annually, most of which will be consumed domestically, while some will be exported to EEU
...Dunder Mifflin has a new competitor. The government waves the taxes for Edgar Partners paper processing company so it can invest additional AMD 450mln. The company will produce products worth AMD 950mln annually
... Another company will invest AMD 8bln to produce gas canisters in Armenia. 120 jobs with 150k salary to be opened. 50bln annual production, most of which will be exported to EEU and other countries.
... Multi Solar company has received a tax waiver to invest AMD 967mln for a construction of a solar farm, which will employ 97 workers with avg 192k salary in Abovyan city.
... AMD 3mln aid to 7 villagers near the border who were unable to collect the harvest due to a recent arson attack by the Azeri soldiers who set the field on fire
... First Deputy PM Ararat Mirzoyan says the minimum aid for elderly and disabled will increase my 56% beginning January 1st of 2019.
... the farmers who lost over 50% of the harvest due to hail on 2018 will receive a AMD 487mln aid package
...5 more provinces have received a AMD 187mln aid to repair the infrastructure, parks and various buildings
Health Minister Torosyan says an Iranian medical company and its subsidiary in Armenia have invested in radiation treatment equipment. Armenia will have the lowest prices in the whole region. The company will treat 60 patient for free annually. The Health Ministry will also spend AMD 100mln from the budget to provide a free care for 200 patients annually, made possible by the increase in health expenditure in the 2019 budget
What do political parties think about taxes?
ARF: Favors progressive brackets (current system) for income tax and also progressive land/property tax. Disagrees that flat taxation can solve income inequality.
QP: Removal of higher tax brackets. Flat 23% tax until 2023, then 20%. Conclusion was made after calculating that the higher brackets encourage the grey economy, which causes more harm then good. The decision was supported by previous PM Karen Karapetyan, who had plans to revert his progressive brackets but was unable to do so due to revolution. QP supports the expansion of Luxury Tax to include more items and payees. Wants to reduce double-taxation. More favorable taxation in provinces to encourage business growth. Small businesses with less than AMD 24mln will be exempt from taxation.
Sasna Tsrer: exempt the tech sector from taxation. Small and medium businesses to get a 2-year tax waiver.
Bright Armenia (some of Yelp Alliance folks): increase taxes on large businesses. Businesses with less than AMD 60mln income in the past 3 years to be exempt from taxation for 3 years. Luxury Tax. Reduction of taxable items. Possibility of excluding entire business fields from taxation.
BHK: 5-year tax waiver for businesses making Menq alliance (other Yelp folks): no taxes from 100 jobs. No import taxes for agricultural, industrial and medical products. Tech sector pays less taxes.
OEK: no taxes fromՀարկեր․-ինչ-են-առաջարկում-քաղաքական-ուժերը/349478
A HHK member says Serj Sargsyan didn't hold any meeting before his resignation. The party found out about it from the news. Serj apparently later told them he did so to prevent the MPs from trying to convince him to stay
The Swedish Parliament hosts a gallery about the Armenian Genocide. Today is the 70th anniversary of UN declaration condemning genocides.
Charles Aznavour's son Nikola Aznavour is learning Armenian so he can spend more time in the country, and possibly move there
Georgian elections.
Salome Zurabishvili wins Georgian presidential elections with almost a 20% margin. Her opponent Vashadze, who promised to grant a pardon to Michael Saakashvili, has failed to receive the necessary votes from the 3rd-place candidate's base who was eliminated after the first round of elections. The Armenian leadership has congratulated Zurabishvili.
...Vashadze has rejected the election results, citing alleged violations and state resources being used to support his opponent, and called for peaceful demonstrations. The winning party chief's charity foundation had earlier promised to spend $560mln for 600k voters to pay off their loans, which was seen as a bribery. OSCE says "the elections met the standards, although the media was dis-proportionally in favor of the winning candidate". ISFD monitors have spotted supporters of the winning candidate outside of some of the polling locations with lists in their hands, possibly checking to see if certain individuals were showing up to vote. Vashadze claims these voters were bribed.
... Zurabishvili was viewed more favorably by the ethnic Armenian voters of Georgia, while the Azeri community favored Vashadze. Zurabishvili had earlier met the Armenian voters and complained that Mikael Saakashvili unfairly preferred Azeris over Armenians while issuing citizenship papers to minorities, a move that was criticized by the Saakashvili and Azeris. --- ---- ---
All the accused are innocent until proven guilty in the court of law.
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2017.02.04 20:30 EschewObfuscation10 Here Are Your January, 2017 Mass Shooting Figures America!

These people were victims strictly of mass shootings (when four or more people were shot in an event, or related series of events without a cooling off period). Not included are victims of shootings where three or fewer people were shot. On average, 93 Americans are killed and 186 injured with guns every day, resulting in approximately 8,500 gunshot casualties each month. In the U.S. in 2014 – the last year for which CDC data is available – 1 of every 78 deaths was caused by gunshot.
Bonus “Guns Are Cool” Fun Facts for January
For more information, be sure to check out GrC's Mass Shooting Tracker. To report a mass shooting, or ask questions about a specific mass shooting, please contact the GrC Moderators.
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