conflict

Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict drives thousands from their homes as death toll mounts

Moscow — Fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani military forces over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh continued Wednesday for the 11th day, with no sign of a ceasefire. More than 300 people have reportedly been killed since the long-simmering dispute erupted in violence on September 27.

The two nations have disputed ownership of the mountainous enclave since becoming independent with the breakup of the former Soviet Union. Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but it has been run autonomously by and is primarily populated by ethnic Armenians.

An official from the regional administration said Wednesday that the fighting had already driven half of Nagorno-Karabakh’s civilian population out of their homes.

Displaced Civilians Arrive In Armenia As Nagorno-Karabakh Clash Grows
Vartanush Avakyan, 92, waits on a bus to ride to Yerevan, Armenia, after leaving her village of Gandzasar due to fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, October 6, 2020 in Goris, Armenia.

Brendan Hoffman/Getty


“According to our preliminary estimates, some 50% of Karabakh’s population and 90% of women and children — or some 70,000-75,000 people — have been displaced,” the Nagorno-Karabakh administration’s rights ombudsman Artak Beglaryan, told the AFP news agency.

The fighting in the Caucasus has ended 25 years of relative peace, delivered by a ceasefire brokered to end a deadly war between the former Soviet republics over Nagorno-Karabakh in the 1990s.

On Tuesday, Azerbaijani officials claimed that Armenian forces had targeted an oil pipeline with cluster munitions, which most nations have banned the use of. The Armenian Ministry of Defense promptly dismissed the accusation, insisting Armenian forces had not targeted any oil or gas infrastructure.

Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh on outline map
The breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, recognized internationally as part of Azerbaijan, is seen in red. 

Getty/iStockphoto


There have been claims from both sides that the other is indiscriminately shelling civilian areas.

Earlier this week, Amnesty International issued a report corroborating information that cluster

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IG Review finds management practices, not fraud, at root of conflict

By William Kelly, Daily News Staff Writer
 
| Palm Beach Daily News

A Palm Beach County Inspector General’s Office investigation found no evidence that a contractor fraudulently billed the town for the installation and maintenance of crime surveillance cameras. 

The town asked the office in August 2019 to investigate its concerns that it paid Johnson Controls Inc. for work that was not completed. 

The inspector general’s office, in its Sept. 22 report, concluded that the town’s project management practices were largely responsible for confusion over billing issues.

“Although we did not find clear evidence of fraud, it does appear that the parties disagree on their interpretation and understanding of the terms of their agreement related to performance and billing,” the report states.

 But the IG’s office said, the investigation revealed “issues that we believe should be addressed: one concerns the town’s project management procedures, and the other concerns the town and JCI’s contract procedures in general.”

The town hired JCI in 2012 and agreed to a payment schedule for it to install and maintain a security camera and surveillance system in different areas of town. Johnson Controls was permitted to submit bills for its progress on multiple work sites.

Finance Director Jane Le Clainche said Friday that the town paid Johnson Controls more than $2.1 million since 2013 for the infrastructure and annual maintenance and repairs. 

The work still wasn’t complete when the town terminated its relationship with the company more than a year ago, Town Manager Kirk Blouin said.

Blouin said the camera surveillance system is a large, technologically sophisticated infrastructure. The work was complicated, and the installation and maintenance has involved many different people, working for Johnson Controls and the town, over the last decade, he said.

“There was a lack of progress,” said Blouin, former public safety

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