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The News in Brief

Monday, December 20
Georgian Parliament approves State Budget 2011

The Georgian Parliament approved the State Budget for 2011 on Friday, as 95 MPs voted for and only 8 against the major financial document. The parliamentary minority refused to support the proposed budget.

The budget of Gel 7 billion and 100 million has already been described as a "recovery budget", which has set several priorities.

One quarter of the state budget 2011 will be assigned to the healthcare sector. A joint pension base will be created which will assist the payment of pensions to all pensioners. Different healthcare programs will be funded and 14% will be spent on local transfers.

Education still remains a priority in 2011. Funding of school vouchers is increasing from the next year and over 60 000 first graders will be presented net books.

The budget of the Agricultural Ministry is also increasing four fold. All state offices will continue the policy of belt tightening in the next year again as administrative expenditure is going to be reduced by 10%.

The budget deficiency is to decrease by 2%. For stable economic development, the government also intends to stop resorting to foreign debt, which will not exceed 46% in relation to the gross domestic product.
(Rustavi 2)

Abkhaz robbers release captive after 50-thousand ransom

Abkhaz robbers released Amiko Gulordava after a 23-day captivity followig payment of a ransom of Gel 50 000.

The former hostage was abducted from his own home in the village of Tchkadua in Zugdidi District of Georgian-controlled territory. During his capture, he was under physical pressure.

The abducted man was kept in the territory of occupied Abkhazia.

The abductors had initially demanded Gel 500 000 from the Gulordava family.
(Rustavi 2)

Forestry Department Chief arrested

The Constitutional Security Department and the Office of the Main Prosecutor of Georgia have arrested the head of the Forestry Agency of the Environmental Ministry, Papuna Khachidze and the head of the Geo-Informational Service of the same agency Giorgi Baghaturia.

Reportedly, Khachidze is suspected of misuse of authority and money laundering. The damage inflicted to the state budget during their illegal activities is 2,700,000 GEL.

Papuna Khachidze has chaired the Forestry Department since 2008.

Giorgi Baghaturia had registered two companies he owned in his aunt's name. Those were the companies making an inventory of woods and drawing up plans for using licenses.

Baghaturia admits to the crime, while Papuna Khachidze is exercising his legal right to remain silent.
(Rustavi 2)

Centre For Professional Lawyers Development Established In Georgia

A Centre for the development of professional lawyers will be set up in Georgia from December 17.

As Prime-News reported, the newly established organization's purpose is preparing professional lawyers, raising the level of their skill, deepening of theoretical knowledge, practical work and integration of lawyers into social spheres and places of work.

In order to achieve these goals, trainings and seminars will be undertaken in the center.

Extraordinary Session of Movement for Fair Georgia to Raise Question on Noghaideli’s Exclusion from Party

An extraordinary session of the “Movement for fair Georgia” will be held on December 23 in Tbilisi.

As for the head of the civil organization of the movement, Shmagi Gabakhadze, the main issue at the session will be Zurab Nogaideli’s expulsion from the party.

"Nogaideli deceived his own people - he does not deserve to be our leader," - said Gabakhadze.

According to Gabakhadze, the date and place of the session will be clarified within the next few days. Gabakhadhze noted that Nogaideli’s former companion-in-arms intends to collect signatures and file a lawsuit against him. They accuse the party leader of non-payment for implemented work.

Rescuers Found Body of Climber Lost In Svaneti Mountains

After a four-day search, Georgian rescuers found the body of 27-year old Carlo Khergiani, who fell under an avalanche in the mountains of the Svaneti region of Georgia.

The rescue service found Carlo Khergiani dead at the scene.

Several groups had been working simultaneously during the last 4 days in a bid to save the alpinist lost in the avalanche. A helicopter was also involved in the operation.

Khergiani appeared under an avalanche during the ascent to the Tetnuldi peak in the mountains of Svaneti on the night of December 14.