The trial of Jirayr Sefilyan and others continued in Yerevan on Friday, July 28, 2017. Lawyer Nina Karapetyants was again unable to enter the courtroom as bailiffs insisted that she take out all metal items from her bag just before the sitting. The lawyer refused to obey their order.
The trial began with one defendant. The other six defendants had been barred by the judge for ‘improper behavior.’
Judge Tatevik Grigoryan announced that some lawyers want to obstruct the sittings and called for proper behaviour. The judge added that she had been informed Nina Karapetyants had refused to have her bag examined by court bailiffs.
The judge has retired to the consultation room to make a decision.
Europe’s Weightlifting double champion Sergey Petrosyan was found dead in Goryachy Klyuch town of Krasnodarski Krai, lenta.ru reports citing the mayor’s post on Facebook.
The 29-year-old man was reported missing for several days. His body was found in the river.
A forensic examination has been commissioned to find out the cause of his death.
Following the example of Vardan Geravetyan, one of the members of the Sasna Dzrer group, Tigran Manukyan, another member of the armed group that seized a police building in Yerevan last summer, started a hunger strike four days ago, Tigran’s mother Hripsime Grigoryan told hraparak.am.
She said her son demands that the political prisoners be kept in one cell together or in separate cells where they will be alone. “I saw him (Tigran) yesterday, he said that the hunger strike was necessary,” the mother added. “He has turned to the Human Rights Defender requesting him to accommodate Sasa Dzrer members in separate cells. He is pleased with his cellmates but people with the same political ideology should be kept in one cell, or in separate cells. This is what they demand.”
Six new teams have entered the competition in this season
Former employees of Nairit chemical plant again gathered outside the government building demanding a solution to their problem. “They see that we gather here every week but no one comes out to talk to us and to listen to our concerns. Let the prime minister come and tell us that the plant will not work again, do not come here again, as we cannot even afford transport fee today,” said Spartak Poghosyan, a former employee of the plant.
The group demands that the government pay the fines and penalties accumulated from debts. “When the state owes workers, no interest is added to the debt, but when a citizen owes money and does not pay it in time, he/she has to pay not only the interests but also has to deal with the Compulsory Enforcement Service that comes and takes everything you have,” said Norik Ghahramanyan.
A citizen committed suicide on Thursday by jumping off a bridge in Yerevan.
A rescue squad and a team of the National Center for Crisis Management of the RA Ministry of Emergency Situations arrived at the scene to find the body of a 40-year-old man under Davtashen bridge.
More surveillance and speed cameras are being installed in Yerevan to record traffic violations, the Traffic Police report.
The new cameras will be put into operation on July 31 and are installed at the intersection of Mashots Avenue and Sayat-Nova street, Amiryan and Henry Verneuil streets.
Drivers are recommended to observe traffic rules.
Levon Altunyan, Minister of Health of Armenia, today expressed hope that the funds allocated to the healthcare system [from the state budget] will not be curtailed next year.
“We hope we shall be able to justify our programs so that the money allocated to the healthcare sector will not be cut. Should it happen anyway, we shall cut our budget at the expense of savings without worsening the quality of services,” the minister said.
At the same time, Mr. Altunyan did not ruled out staff cuts.
13.40 We do not have allies in the political domain, says Zaruhi Postanjyan, Leader of the Yerkir Tsirani party.
She also meant the opposition Yelk alliance which, she says votes for Serzh Sargsyan’s programs. “We should keep them [Yelk members] away from us,” Postanjyan said today.
13.08 Over 30 000 children are on the waiting list to enter nurseries. 162 kindergartens today accommodate 35 000 children, Sona Aghekyan, a member of the Yerevan Council of Elders from the Yerkir Tsirani party, said today.
She says the municipality should allocate money to open new groups in kindergartens.
Zaruhi Postanjyan, Leader of the Yerkir Tsirani party, invited a press conference on July 27 to summarize the results of the faction’s one-month activity in the City Council and present a report.
Employees of the Ambulance Service and Ministry of Emergency Situations are grouped outside the Court of General Jurisdiction of Avan and Nor Nork districts where the trial of the 18 members of the Sasna Dzrer (the Daredevils of Sasun) group is underway.
It is still unclear what has happened.
As soon as the ambulance arrived, Deputy Chief of Yerevan Police Valeri Osipyan urged them to stay away from journalists.
Two people died in a road accident in Armenia’s Syunik marz on July 26.
The accident occurred on Kapan-Goris roadway early in the morning. The driver of the BMW 318 and its passenger died on the spot when the car veered off the road and turned upside down.
On arriving at the scene, rescuers turned off gas valves and removed the bodies.
Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president and Ukrainian governor, was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship on July 26.
Saakashvili’s supporters called Poroshenko’s action to strip Saakashvili of Ukrainian citizenship an “unconstitutional” reprisal for Saakashvili’s criticisms.
The former head of the Odessa region, Mikheil Saakashvili, made a video about Petro Poroshenko’s decision.
“I am a simple Ukrainian! Today I am being subjected to the same approaches that are used by Ukraine’s prosecutors or bureaucrats against regular Ukrainians, whose rights are spat upon.
I have lived in Ukraine for more than thirteen years, I participated in three revolutions, all of them in Ukraine. I have only one citizenship, that of Ukraine and I will not be deprived of it! Now there is an attempt under way to force me to become a refugee. This will not happen! I will not remain anywhere else and will not change status! I will fight for my legal right to return to Ukraine!” Mikheil Saakashvili said in a video address.
A discussion entitled “Opportunities for Online Learning in Armenian HEIs” is underway at Media Center.
You can follow the discussion on A1+.
For years Armenian scientists, specialists and environmentalists presented from their field of expertise the dangers of gold project in Amulsar planned by Lydian International. They insisted that this project should not be realized. Many times it was mentioned that researches and assessments presented by this inexperienced offshore company stating that all possible risks are manageable not only pose doubts, but also they do not correspond to the reality. It was also mentioned that Armenia’s government did not carry out its own expertise and instead it relied on Lydian’s assumptions written in the documents neglecting all other objections and justifications brought by independent experts.
Now international acclaimed experts in the field have also joined Armenian experts and based on the proposal of the US-based Harout Bronozian, they presented results of three different expertises on this gold project. The results of these researches once again confirm the statement voiced for many years that gold project in Amulsar should not be launched since the assessment carried out by Lydian are extremely incomplete, while the government is basically uninformed about the unmanageable risks posed to our water resources.
The first one of these researches is by “Blue Minerals Consultancy” company about “Evaluation of Lydian Amulsar Gold Mining Project: Assessment of Acid Rock Drainage Potential and Effects on Surface Water and Groundwater”. It was prepared by the principals of the company Dr. Andrea Gerson and Dr. Roger Smart based on the study of more than dozen of documents found on Lydian International’s official website. These experts have combined experience of 45 years in minerals processing and acid rock drainage scientific research and development. The abovementioned research is 125 pages and its English version can be found here, while the summary is here.
We would like to draw attention particularly of the decision makers in Armenia, as well as the shareholders and creditors of offshore Lydian to the main conclusions of the research.
In the foreword, the Australian scientists mention that acid rock drainage (ARD) is internationally the biggest environmental issue facing closed and abandoned mines and mine site rehabilitation. It presents an impending liability to current and future mining operations worldwide and also poses a challenge to the environmental and social acceptance of mining activities. Total cost estimates for remediating ARD-impacted sites in the USA and Canada combined runs into tens of billions of dollars.
Besides, ARD can continue for hundreds of years after a mine is closed and so has potentially long-term and serious environmental impact on downstream water quality, agriculture, fauna and flora. Acidic drainage with associated dissolved metal species some damaging to human health and toxic to biota (e.g. Cd, Cu, Pb, Zn, As, Hg, Se) can result from the weathering of sulfide minerals in mine waste rock and process tailings. The iron sulfide mineral pyrite (FeS2), found throughout the Amulsar deposit, is the main generator of acid drainage.
For effective ARD control and mitigation the rates of release of acid must be understood in advance. But it is only through understanding the evolution of the rate of acid release that an effective and long-lasting environmental management plan can be put in place. This has not been done adequately in the Amulsar ARD planning.
The main questions and conclusions of the experts are as follows:
Later the Australian scientists enumerate researches that are absent from Lydian’s documents.
Later it is mentioned that “there is a lack of understanding of the rates and amounts of ARD release from this mine site with potentially serious downstream consequences. Without proper definition it is not possible to ensure that adequate mitigation is in place to ensure minimal impact on the environment and human endeavors including potable water, agriculture and tourism. All of the missing tests and data specified [in the abovementioned 5 points] should be obtained before proceeding with ARD planning.”
Additionally the independent experts studied “Resources and Reserves of Armenia” section of Amulsar NI 43-101 refined technical report by Samuels Engineering prepared on March 30, 2017 on the order of Lydian company. These sections are about ARD description, mitigation and management. The recommendations in Chapter 26 show the incompleteness of this characterization and detailed planning.
“Unlike active treatment systems, a Passive Treatment System (PTS) must be designed to function under site-specific conditions. To date, no studies have been performed to ascertain the performance of PTS methods on Amulsar ARD. A process verification study must be performed. This study includes bench scale and pilot-scale tests. The process verification studies are long-duration tests that will start during final design and continue into production.” This is not acceptable. This should be complete before production. Changes after production have carry-over consequences for ARD control.
“Additional studies are required to verify predictive models that were used within the water balance. Site runoff, evaporation, seep and spring flow, surface water flow, and pit dewatering models all require additional model verification against field data.”
The mine should not have been approved until these tasks and verification were complete. The detailed ARD assessment and control design has not been done. Finding out after starting the mine that very high cost on-going treatments are required may seriously alter the value to shareholders and the Armenian Government.
Blue Minerals Consultancy suggests as a result of their research not to start the mining before these omissions are not properly studied by independent bodies/advisors, and after the omissions will be inserted in the ARD management plan, which will also include the government’s and company’s responsibilities and liabilities (the full summary of the research can be found here).
Responsibility for this concealment lies on dividend holders or financiers of the project (especially Armenians), Armenian scientific community, acting according to Lydian’s request, international organizations, that pressures local authorities (World Bank, EBRD etc.), also foreign embassies, namely US and UK. Also, a huge responsibility lies on press, that again, forgot its own mission and acts according to Lydian’s orders, and most importantly – Armenian government, that subordinates environmental safety, public interest and its accountability towards the community to private interests.
Therefore mine exploitation in Amulsar is impossible in current strategic needs of Armenia, particularly from the perspective of priorities such as protection of water resources and the livelihoods of the population. If informed about real danger of Amulsar, the most of the population, including people living in the immediate affected regions, will start a powerful resistance.
On July 26, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a joint statement alleging that Armenia is triggering provocations on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and on the line of contact.
The statement says in part that Armenia is shelling Azerbaijani positions and settlements with heavy weapons.
Talking to razm.info, Spokesman for the Armenian Defense Ministry Artrsun Hovhannisyan refuted the Azerbaijani statement saying ‘the situation has been calm on the border in recent days.’