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The News in Brief

Thursday, December 18
Georgian Orthodox Church Commemorates Saint Barbara

On December 17, the Georgian Orthodox Church commemorates Saint Barbara. St. Barbara’s Day is called in Georgia Barbaroba.

As Black Sea Press was informed at the Patriarchate of Georgia, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II and Georgian clergy conducted a solemn public service in St. Barbara’s Church in Tbilisi to celebrate this feast.

It is considered that the first guest you receive on this day is the patron of children. On this day many children attend the services in Georgian churches.

Saint Barbara, known in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the Great Martyr Barbara (3rd century – December 4, 306), was a Christian martyr. She has been honoured in Georgia since ancient times. Four churches have been built in Tbilisi in her honour, the first of them in the eighth century. (Black Sea Press)

Government to finance six more projects under Cheap Credit Programme

The Government of Georgia has confirmed its financing of six projects within the framework of the Cheap Credit Programme. GEL 545,000 (over USD 340,000) has been allocated for this purpose.

The projects will take place in the Shida Kartli region and mainly concern the agriculture, timber processing, building materials and food industries. According to the Ministry of Economic Development of Georgia, 171 people will be employed directly, and about 200 indirectly, after the implementation of the aforesaid projects. Local residents affected by the Georgian-Russian hostilities will be the primary beneficiaries of the projects. (Black Sea Press)

Bulgarian Customs seizes heroin delivered from Poti

Almost 200 kg of heroin were discovered during a joint Customs and Police operation at Bulgaria's Port of Burgas, France Press reports with reference to the Interior Ministry of Bulgaria.

The heroin was in packages of 500 grammes hidden in secret compartments of the trailers of three trucks inspected at the port's ferry terminal. The trucks had license plates from Bulgaria's capital Sofia but entered Burgas through the ferry line connecting it with Georgia's Black Sea Port of Poti.

The drugs were found in an international operation led by the Regional Centre for Combating Trans-border Crime of the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) located in Romania's capital Bucharest. The case is under investigation. The Ministry of Interior of Georgia has not commented on the report so far. (Black Sea Press)

Opposition says there is no increase of public confidence in the judicial system

The Secretary General of the opposition Movement for United Georgia, barrister Eka Beselia, stated at a special briefing late on December 16 that the conclusions of the Chairman of the Supreme Court of Georgia on the results of a survey, which he claimed showed that public confidence in the courts has increased in Georgia, “is a mockery of society.”

“Kublashvili’s statement about an increased level of public confidence in the court system is a jest at the expense of the public, a jest about people who have experienced the politicized and dependant court system. The judicial system, as never before, depends on the executive power,” Beselia stated.

“The results quoted by Konstantine Kublashvili are those relating to questions about technical issues of service. Having nice buildings and convenient halls does not demonstrate that the judiciary is fair and independent. These factors are not the barometers for determining the level of public confidence,” Beselia stated. Eka Beselia called on Kublashvili to refrain from publication of “faulty statistical data and distorted information.”

The survey, carried out as part of the reform of judicial administration and management in Georgia, showed that the level of satisfaction with the work of courts in the country among its citizens, plaintiffs, barristers and accused was 54.6%. “This is a rather good index which reflects the improvements resulting from reforms undertaken in the country over the last few years. We are not completely satisfied though, as our aim is to create a fairer and more objective judicial system,” Chairman of the Supreme Court of Georgia Konstantin Kublashvili stated at the press conference on December 16 at which he presented the results of the survey.

The project of the reform of judicial administration and management was elaborated due to the joint efforts of the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Highest Council of Justice and the US International Development Agency (USAID), with USAID financing. The budget of the project is $3.7 million and it is intended to run for four years.

The survey was carried by the Institute of Public Research and Marketing in June 2008 in six large courts of the first instance, namely, Tbilisi City Court, Mtskheta District Court, Gori District Court, Kutaisi District Court, Rustavi District Court and Batumi City Court.

The survey sought responses to such issues as the location of a court, its comfort, officials’ readiness to render assistance, officials’ politeness, the simplicity of court procedures, provision of information, confidence and perceived bias. 2,000 people responded to the survey. (Black Sea Press)