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The News in Brief

Tuesday, February 22
President speaks about corn price increase

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili visited the village of Etseri in the Imereti region and met the local population yesterday. He spoke about the increases in prices of corn products globally, which has been reflected in the Georgian market too, and said that the only effective way to eradicate this problem was to develop local industry.

Saakashvili also visited the family of Aleksandre Tabidze and talked about the situation in the agriculture sector. He said that hybrid species of maize would be distributed to the Georgian population from March 2011.

“We have a very serious resource in the agriculture sector. Georgia has the capability to create an effective agricultural-industrial complex. We should work for ourselves, otherwise we will always have to depend on other countries,” the President said.
(Rustavi 2)

Tianeti and Dusheti district vilages isolated from rest of Mtskheta-Mtianeti Region

Due to heavy snow some villages in the Tianeti and Dusheti districts have been cut off from the rest of the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region.

The village Arzakani is one of those affected. Prime-News was told by the administration of the region that road department brigades and local administration staff are using special machines to conduct emergency road clearance.

Pshavi and Chonkadze have also been isolated. They have had no power since last night. The Dusheti regional administration has organized a special road department brigade headquarters, and road clearing work will begin as soon as the weather improves.

NGOs, experts discuss emigration

NGOS and experts working in Georgia have discussed the problems of emigration and trafficking at Cinema House. The event was organised by the Popular Protest Movement and the Georgian Emigrants NGO. The participants put questions concerning legal and illegal emigrants to the panel via the internet and Skype.

Head of the International Anti-Trafficking Organisation Marc Khulst stated that trafficking of Georgian emigrants has decreased. This is because Georgian citizens are now more informed and anti-trafficking measures have been made much stricter worldwide.

Popular Ombudsman on Emigration Issues Nino Tskhoidze said that due to the difficult socio-economic and political situation in this country Georgian citizens are going abroad with their families and living in the streets until they find shelter and receive refugee status.

Head of Georgian Emigrants Zviad Kushitashvili said that returned emigres still think about going abroad again, as President Saakashvili’s promises have not been kept and they can’t find work here.

GUAM ministerial to be held in Kiev

The 14th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers l of GUAM countries (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova) will be held in Kiev on February 22-24. Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia Nino Kalandadze stated this at a briefing on February 21.

The Georgian side will be represented by First Deputy Foreign Minister. The Foreign Ministers will discuss the prospects of undertaking development within the framework of the organisation. Possible joint projects to be implemented with in the GUAM framework will also be discussed.

Two electricians killed in Kakheti

Two electricians have been electrocuted during repair work on an electric main line damaged as a result of heavy snowfall in the village of Vazisubani in Kakheti, the Kakheti Information Centre has told Prime-News.

Avtandil Kochiashvili and Nukri Arevadze died while trying to repair damage to high voltage lines. An investigation is in progress.

Revenue Service introduces cash machines with GPRS

The Revenue Service of the Ministry of Finance of Georgia continues to introduce new simpler and more comfortable tax payment methods for entrepreneurs. Under the Government programme The New Course 1,000 cash machines equipped with GPRS are to be offered at various trade centres. These will be given free to entrepreneurs whose annual turnover does not exceed 250,000 GEL.
(Rustavi 2)

Russia agrees to extradite crime boss

Russia has agreed to extradite Georgian crime boss Tariel Oniani to Spain. Spanish newspaper El Pais reports that the Russian Prosecutor`s Office has agreed to the temporary extradition of Oniani, who is accused by the Spanish of money laundering, forming an organised criminal gang and document forgery.

A few years ago Spanish police conducted a large-scale operation to capture members of the Oniani criminal network, but Oniani himself escaped. In 2008 he was arrested in Russia and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
(Rustavi 2)