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The News in Brief

Friday, February 19
Irakli Alasania will not withdraw his candidacy

Irakli Alasania is not going to withdraw his candidacy for Tbilisi Mayor. He made this statement following a meeting with NGOs working on drug addiction issues. "I am not going to withdraw my candidacy in favour of anyone. We are sure we will win the elections," he said.

After a further meeting, with NGOs at the offices of the New Rights, Alasania said, "agreement on a united candidate is possible, but our position on Noghaideli remains the same. We canít cooperate with him due to our great political and ideological differences." He added that he is sure Noghaideli has the same position. (Interpressnews)



Noghaideli plans to cooperate with Tskhinvali puppet regime

The ruling party of so-called South Ossetia, called the Union, may join the ongoing negotiations being conducted by Georgia's ex-Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli and Russia`s ruling party United Russia. Noghaideli, who leads the Movement for Fair Georgia, does not deny that negotiations might be held with the separatists and explains this as a necessary step for conflict resolution.

According to osradio.ru, the recent visit of senior Russian MP, Konstantin Kosachov to the breakaway region was aimed at preparing the ground for talks on future cooperation. Other opposition parties in Georgia disapprove of Noghaideli's actions and "unintelligible political course" and describe them as an insult to the country. (Rustavi 2)



CEC demands video monitoring of each polling station

The group for developing modern communication means at the Central Election Commission has demanded the installation of video cameras in every polling station, asserting that video control will guarantee the fair and unbiased conduct of the vote.

"We propose that every polling station be equipped with video cameras, including the special polling stations for the local government elections," Nino Goguadze announced at a briefing yesterday. She declared that at previous elections the vote had not been rigged in the precincts equipped with video cameras.

The members of the group called upon the Finance Ministry and international organisations to provide financial support for this initiative. (Rustavi 2)



Criminal Case brought concerning Nodar Kumaritashvili

A criminal case has been brought in a Canadian court concerning the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili. Gia Natsvlishvili, head of the Georgian Olympic Committee, stated this at a briefing yesterday.

Natsvlishvili said that the designers and builders of the track have already been interrogated. "It is a fact that security norms were not observed. Whatever speed he was going, the sportsman should have not left the track," he said.

Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, 21, died last Friday when his sled flipped and threw him from the track into a steel pole at the Whistler Sliding Centre. He will be buried in Bakuriani on Saturday. The street where the sportsman lived has been renamed after him. (Interpressnews)



NGO staff arrested for fraud

As a result of measures taken by the Mtskheta-Mtianeti Regional Main Police Division, the Constitutional Security Department Regional Division and the Prosecutorís Office, Nugzar Mazanashvili (born 1964), Nino Shalamberidze (born 1980), Besik Kvirikashvili (born 1975), Lasha Kldiashvili (born 1986) and Mamuka Mezurnishvili (born 1985), members of an organised criminal group have been detained.

Nugzar Mazanashvili was the founder and Chair of the International Organisation for the Protection of Rights. It is alleged that the detainees, on the instruction of Mazanashvili, inspected grocery stores on the grounds that they were protecting consumersí rights. If any violations were found the owners of the stores were forced to become members of the International Organisation for the Protection of Rights and pay a 20-30 GEL membership fee under threat of a fine. After becoming members of the organisation the shop owners had to transfer a certain amount of cash each month to its bank account or face a fine of 500 GEL.

An investigation is being conducted by employees of the Mtskheta Police Division of the Ministry of Interior under Article 180 of the Criminal Code of Georgia. (Rustavi 2)