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The News in Brief

Wednesday, July 21
Police arrest four people suspected of extortion

Police have arrested four people suspected of extortion. They launched an investigation in June on the grounds of a complaint submitted by a group of car park attendants in Tbilisi.

In a few weeks the investigation identified the people suspected of extorting money from the car park attendants. The suspects had founded a company called Autoparking Ltd without any legal power, which regulated parking in the streets. They forced the attendants to enrol in the company and pay them 20-30 GEL daily.

Founders of Autoparking Ltd Khvicha Tskepladze and Dimitri Tchelidze, its Director Iuri Barbakadze and employee Mamuka Aptsiauri have been charged under Article 181 part II of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which envisages a term of imprisonment of up to 9 years. (Rustavi 2)

Tax Ombudsman plan to be submitted to Parliament for approval

The plan included in the new tax code to introduce a Tax Ombudsman will be submitted to Parliament for approval. Under the first draft of the code the Government was due to appoint the Tax Ombudsman and outline their function, but neither experts nor Parliament or the opposition approved of the Tax Ombudsman being completely dependent on the Government.

Interpressnews was told by Zurab Butskhirikidze, Chair of Parliament's Financial-Budgetary Committee, that the Government and Parliament have now agreed to submit the Tax Ombudsman plan to Parliament for approval. In this new plan the Government will appoint the Ombudsman in consultation with Parliament and their functions and obligations will be set out in law.

Parliament will hold its second hearing of the new tax code at an extraordinary sitting today. (Interpressnews)

Two die in road accident in Bakurtsikhe village

Two people died in a road accident in the village of Bakurtsikhe yesterday. The lorry slipped on the road and fell into a ravine. The driver and passenger of the lorry, which was carrying construction materials, were dead when police arrived.

The bodies of the victims have been taken to the morgue in Gurjaani district for identification. The lorry was registered in the Republic of Turkey. Eyewitnesses say it was driving too fast. (Rustavi 2)

Bank of Georgia sells more than 15,000 American Express cards

Bank of Georgia has sold more than 15,000 American Express credit cards, Director of the Bank Irakli Gilauri stated at a press conference yesterday. He said that 3,000 credit cards are sold monthly and 30,000 will be sold by the end of this year.

"We are satisfied with our dealings with American Express. Bank of Georgia will continue this co-operation," Gilauri noted.

Bank of Georgia will also introduce a new American Express Blue Card to the market. It issued its first American Express credit card in November 2009. (Interpressnews)

Davit Bakradze in Switzerland

Chair of the Georgian Parliament Davit Bakradze has spoken about deepening inter-Parliamentary relations at bilateral meetings in Switzerland with Pascale Bruderer-Wyss, President of the National Council of Switzerland, Vladimir Andreichenko, Chairman of the House of Representatives of Belarus, Kasim-Zhomart Tokaev, Chair of Kazakhstan’s Senate, Ene Ergma, Speaker of the Estonian Parliament and Rene van der Linden, President of the Senate of the Netherlands.

Bakradze is taking part in an Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference. Deputies Giorgi Meladze, Khatuna Gogorishvili, Levan Vepkhvadze and Davit Bezhuashvili are accompanying him.

The 3rd World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments is taking place from 19-21 July as part of the IPU conference. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will open this conference, which is held once every five years. Georgia is taking part for the second time. (Interpressnews)

Exam candidates receive subversive messages

The National Assessment and Examination Centre [NAEC] says that candidates for the United Entrance Examinations have received text messages on their cellphones telling them that they have failed to overcome the minimum competence threshold in the general skills tests and would therefore not be accepted for the next examinations.

Head of the Logistics Department of NAEC Maia Gabunia says that it has no connection with these messages. The results of the examinations will be released after they are over and the tests marked. (Rustavi 2)

9 year-old boy injured in car accident

9-year old Saba Benidze has been hospitalised with serious injuries after a speeding car crashed into him. The incident occurred on Sunday in the city of Poti. The child has head injuries but doctors say his condition has improved following treatment.

Saba Benidze was crossing the road when the car crashed into him. He was in Poti taking part in the Nana Aleksandria Chess Festival. He was taken from Poti to the Kutaisi Intervention Medical Centre. (Rustavi 2)