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The News in Brief

Thursday, June 26
Gazprom confirms plans for pipeline to Abkhazia

Gazprom representative Sergey Kupriyanov has confirmed that talks are underway on building a new natural gas pipeline between Russia and the breakaway region of Abkhazia.

He said there are no detailed plans yet.

De facto Abkhaz president Sergey Bagapsh earlier told Russian news agency Interfax that Russia and Abkhazia plan a pipeline link along the bottom of the Black Sea.

The pipeline will supply natural gas to the de facto Abkhaz capital of Sokhumi, Bagapsh said.

Georgian officials oppose the project, saying it would tie Russia closer to the separatist region. (Prime News)

Parliament committee hears amendments to criminal law

The parliamentary committee on human rights and civil integration read through proposed amendments to Georgia’s criminal code yesterday.

Deputy Justice Minister Dimitri Dzagnidze, who presented the amendments, said the changes would include a new appeals process and the possibility of public service in lieu of straight jail time.

Committee chair Giorgi Arsenishvili said, “We must prepare seriously and work on the bill to avoid shortcomings in laws, so we don’t have to return to discussion of these laws again.”

One suggested change that was rejected was serving jail terms in monasteries. Arsenishvili said it was ruled out because Georgia has prisoners of varying religions. (Black Sea Press)

Gambling brings GEL 14 million in state revenue

GEL 14 million in gambling industry fees went into the state coffers in the first five months of this year, according to the treasury department.

417 licenses for slot machine parlors, lotteries and casinos were given out in that period.

The biggest chunk of income came from permit fees for four casinos, which in total paid GEL 10.5 million for their licenses. (Prime News)

Frozen conflicts discussed at Council of Europe session

Frozen conflicts were to be discussed at a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasburg yesterday.

Georgian representatives including deputy state minister for reintegration issues Elene Tevdoradze were scheduled to address the session. Her remarks were to criticize Russia for a double-standard on the issue.

The reports discussed at yesterday’s session focused on how Georgia’s and Moldova’s frozen conflicts are impeding democratic development and foment uncontrollable situations. (Prime News)

Labor accuses Georgian police of car bomb attack

Labor Party members suggested Georgian police could be tied to the bombing of a banker’s car in central Tbilisi this week.

“We are concerned about the incident of the exploding vehicle of Irakli Rukhadze, a supporter of [late Georgian billionaire] Badri Patarkatsishvili. We call on the international community to act against unlawfulness and terror in Georgia,” the party said in a statement yesterday.

A Mercedes was destroyed by a small explosion near Shardeni Street early on June 24. The vehicle belonged to Irakli Rukhadze, director of the investment fund Salford Georgia.

An investigation is under way. (Prime News)

Sochi–Gagra shipping to resume

Shipping links between Russia’s Sochi and Gagra, a port town in separatist Abkhazia, will be resumed over Georgian protests.

The Russian news agency Regnum reported that the deputy director of the Olympic Star shipping company said a timetable has already been prepared.

Irakli Taktakishvili, chair of Georgia's united transport administration, said that all ports in the breakaway region are legally closed and no state has the right to violate that restriction. (Prime News)