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The News in Brief

Tuesday, June 22
Tax allowances to be maintained for press – Davit Bakradze

Parliament Chairman Davit Bakradze stated at yesterday’s Bureau sitting that taxes for the press will not alter in the new tax code, contrary to previous reports.

Bakradze asked Zurab Melikishvili, Chair of the Finance-Budgetary Committee, to invite business and media representatives to a discussion of the new tax code today. He added that the Government has repeatedly expressed its support of the free media and the press does not face any slackening of this support given the recent granting of tax allowances to TV stations.

Shovi isolated due to bad weather

The resort of Shovi has been isolated from the rest of the country by bad weather. The only bridge to the Oni district has been washed away by the overflowing River Dghviora. Heavy rain has damaged roads and flooded 8 cottages, while two more are in danger.

Racha-Lechkhumi-Svaneti Governor Davit Gagoshidze says that the population are not panicking and reconstruction work is underway. The resort will be open again in a few days, he added.

Two arrested for using forged ID cards

Officers of the Vake-Saburtalo police division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs have detained Merab Titanidze (born 1955) and his son, Kakhaber Titanidze (born 1979) for forging ID cards.

An investigation has established that in 2002, on the basis of a forged birth certificate, Merab Titanidze changed his name to Solomon Bagrationi, thus pretending to be a descendant of Solomon II, the King of Imereti. Kakhaber Titanishvili was detained for taking similar actions.

The detainees have already pleaded guilty. Further investigation is being conducted by officers of the Vake-Saburtalo police division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs under Article 362 part I of the Criminal Code of Georgia.
(Rustavi 2)

Education Minister meets with bankers and businessmen

Minister of Education and Science Dimitri Shashkin has held a working meeting on school infrastructure improvement with businessmen and the heads of banks.

Dimitri Shashkin presented a school canteen refurbishment project to the heads and representatives of TBC Bank, Bank of Georgia, VTB Bank, Procredit Bank, Bank Republic, TaoPrivat Bank, Liberty Bank and the companies Magticom, Beeline, Geocell, Coca-Cola, Populi, Goodwill, Megafood, Gogli-Mogli, the GMC Group, Ioli and Gmart. The project is part of the Safe and Healthy School concept nitiated by the President.

The canteens of Tbilisi Public Schools number 55 and 43 have been already refurbished in compliance with modern standards with the support of Gogli-Mogli and TaoPrivat Bank. Similar work will be undertaken in 88 schools from the next academic year. A tender has been announced, in which any company can take part and make a contribution to school infrastructure improvement.

The school canteens will offer children fresh and healthy food. Cash will be abolished in schools and the children will buy food with credit cards.
(Rustavi 2)

The very first centre for asylum seekers in Georgia opens its doors

On 21 June 2010 at 13:00 the official inauguration of the Reception Centre (RC) for asylum seekers took place in Martkopi, Georgia, the UNHCR Representation in Georgia has told Interpressnews.

Presently around 50 asylum seekers enter Georgia each year. The lack of a reception centre to accommodate asylum seekers pending decisions on their claims was previously identified as one of the gaps which prevented the overall asylum system in Georgia meeting international standards of refugee protection.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation (MRA) have worked in close cooperation to establish a permanent reception and accommodation centre through the rehabilitation of a building allocated by the Ministry of Economic Development in Martkopi village, 15 kms north-west of Tbilisi. The project, costing 616,667 GEL, was implemented by UNHCR in collaboration with the MRA and funded by the European Union and the US Department of State.

The new centre can accommodate up to 60 asylum seekers and has facilities for single males, single females and families. A number of services are available, including a laundry, a library, a gym, kitchens, a social room, a space for children and leisure and a first aid post. The reception centre will be run by the MRA and UNHCR will help train its staff.

This opening forms part of the celebrations of World Refugee Day (WRD) 2010. UNHCR Georgia commemorates WRD on and around 20 June with various sport and social activities for refugees and internally displaced persons.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees protects, assists, and seeks solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide. In Georgia, UNHCR addresses the protection and assistance needs of over 355,000 persons of concern, including over 345,000 internally displaced persons, 1,600 stateless people and nearly 1,000 refugees.
(Rustavi 2)