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The News in Brief

Wednesday, May 20
Parliament to resume full work programme, presumably from June

The legislative body intends to reestablish its former work pattern in June. Issues that were not discussed at the spring session will be actively considered in June.

The spring session opened on the first Tuesday of February and should end on the last Friday of June. Accordingly, Parliament assumes that in June meetings will be conducted daily, although it is not excluded that Parliament will also hold further extraordinary meetings if need be.

Parliament’s work has been restricted since the beginning of the opposition rallies on April 9th. (Interpressnews)

Peter Semneby comments on NABUCCO

The main partner in the NABUCCO pipeline project is Azerbaijan, said EU Special Representative for South Caucasus Peter Semneby on May 18 in Baku, the Trend news agency reports.

"The most important thing is that the EU and transit countries Turkey and Georgia, as well as key country Azerbaijan, which is both a transit country and a source of gas, have signed a declaration (in Prague) concerning this project," said Semneby, who added that the question of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan joining the project will be discussed at the next stage.

The NABUCCO project, worth ˆ7.9 billion, will deliver Azerbaijani and Central Asian gas to the EU. Construction of the pipeline is expected to commence in 2010. Its maximum capacity will be 31 billion cubic metres per year. NABUCCO’s shareholders are the Austrian OMV, Hungarian MOL, Bulgarian Bulgargaz, Romanian Transgaz, Turkish Botas and German RWE with 16.7 percent each. 30 percent of the total project cost will be invested by the shareholders of NABUCCO Gas Pipeline International and the remaining 70 percent will be paid through loans. (Interpressnews)

Members of criminal group detained by Old Tbilisi District police

The press centre of the MIA reports that “following an operation officers of the Old Tbilisi District Police Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs have detained two members of a criminal gang operating in Tbilisi, Ramaz Aslanishvili –born 1977, and Grigol Baramia – born 1986, who are suspected of stealing cash, an audio player and a mobile phone from a taxi driver at knifepoint. The detainees have already pleaded guilty.

“An investigation is in progress under Article 179 of the Criminal Code of Georgia.” (Interpressnews)

Labour Party urges Government to reduce tuition fees at state universities

The Labour Party objects to the increase in tuition fees at state universities and is urging the Government to reduce them again.

Party member Giorgi Gugava said yesterday that the annual tuition fee at Ilia Chavchavadze and other state universities has been increased to 3,000 GEL. Only first year students will have to pay the increased tuition, but Gugava says most of those who finish school will not then be able to afford further education.

“Many our citizens will be unable to afford this. How many families can afford 3,000 GEL a year for the education of their children?” Gugava said. (Rustavi 2)

Russia to conduct Caucasus 2009 in June

Taking into consideration the ongoing NATO-led military trainings in Georgia, the Russian Defence Ministry has changed its plans and will hold new large-scale military trainings in the North Caucasus.

Deputy Defence Minister Aleksander Kolmakov said the exercise will be called Caucasus 2009 and brigades of every military district of the North Caucasus will take part in it. Forces from various other regions of the federation will also join in.

The training will be conducted in several stages and will begin in June. (Rustavi 2)

President opens enterprise in Senaki

The Georgian President has attended the opening of a new enterprise constructed and launched through the Millennium Challenge Programme. The new laurel leaf-drying factory will export its products to Ukraine, Armenia and the Baltic States. About 100,000 US dollars have been invested in the project.

The factory, in the village of Nosiri, has purchased 110 hectares of land, where the owners have planted laurel saplings. It has employed 500 people. (Rustavi 2)