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The News in Brief

Monday, June 13
European Parliament adopts resolution on Georgia

The European Parliament is calling upon Russia to stop the issuing of passports to citizens of the occupied Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, to respect its agreement with Georgia and withdraw its troops from the occupied Georgian territories - says the resolution which was adopted by the European Parliamentarians in France yesterday.

The resolution is very strict in its assessment of the Russian policy towards Georgia. The document was adopted a day before the EU-Russia meeting, which was to take place in Nizhni Novgorod, Russia.

`The political groups take note of the recently-agreed roadmap for visa-free travel between the EU and Russia, which, they say, must be "based on a step-by-step approach" and bring real practical progress, they say. In any event, EU foreign policy High Representative Catherine Ashton must persuade Russia to cease issuing passports to citizens of the occupied Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia is urged to respect its agreement with Georgia and withdraw its troops from the occupied Georgian territories,` the resolution says.

MEPs criticize the `political interference` in Russia and the `politically-motivated court decision` against Mikhaiel Khordorkovsky. They also urge it to investigate further the incarceration and death of Sergei Magnitsky as well as other political prisoners.

They also object to frequent restrictions on the freedom of opposition parties to register for the elections, such as the 2011 Duma elections.

Finally the resolution voices concern about the lack of media freedom and of freedom of assembly, as shown by the decision to ban a gay pride march in Moscow for the sixth consecutive year.
(Rustavi 2)

Tbilisi Mayor meets Yerevan Mayor

Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava held a meeting with the Mayor of Yerevan Karen Karapetyan and other representatives of the Armenian delegation visiting Tbilisi.

An agreement on establishing friendly relations between Tbilisi and Yerevan was signed on June 4, 1996. Since then, delegations of the two cities have annually visited each other. Their relationship has become especially tight in recent years.

Several delegations of Yerevan have already visited Tbilisi this year. They are interested in learning from Tbilisi's experience in implementing various projects. The delegations have been holding meetings with representatives of services of architecture, transport, economic policy, international relations.
(Rustavi 2)

Gia Khuroshvili explains reasons for constant changes in Tax Code

"These are not universal legislations and which need not changes time-to-time," - Gia Khuroshvili, Parliamentary Secretary explained the reasons for the changes in the Tax Code.

He noted that the Georgian government continues to consult with businessmen, "after making an analysis of the pressing problems in this area we see that the legislations need some changes. This finding arose when a dispute in the Council was made in favour of a businessman."

He underlined that after consultations with the parliamentary majority and business representatives, a mutual decision is reached and this change enters the Tax Code.

Natural disaster inflicts serious damage on Kakheti Region

Heavy rains and windstorms inflicted serious damage on Kakheti Region in Eastern Georgia on Saturday.

Due to the rain, the traffic on the highway from the town of Gurjaani to capital Tbilisi was hampered for several hours. The strong wind reportedly completely unroofed a block of apartments in the region.

72 families affected by the bad weather were fighting the disaster. Homes were flooded, high-voltage electricity wires were ripped by the strong wind and trees were uprooted.

A special commission is counting the cost of damage inflicted on the region on the ground.
(Rustavi 2)

Tbilisi Open Air live music festival opens

Tbilisi Open Air/Alter Vision music festival opened on Saturday on the territory of the former hippodrome of Georgia`s capital. 20 music bands from Georgia, Belgium, France and Great Britain are taking part in the two-day live music festival.

The band 'Benedict' opened the event yesterday.

At the hippodrome, a festival town has been built with food and entertainment booths for musicians and guests of the festival.

This is the second year the Tbilisi Open Air festival has taken place and Georgia's Ministry for Sports and Youth Affairs joined the festival this year.
(Rustavi 2)