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The News in Brief

Thursday, August 11
There are a lot of questions whether Russia really has political will to affiliate with the WTO or not - Zurab Chiaberashvili

'Georgia is well aware of the advantages of Russia’s affiliation with WTO, though it is not going to support it without fair terms’, Zurab Chiaberashvili, Ambassador of Georgia to Switzerland and Lichtenstein, told Reuters .

According to him, it is hard to say now whether an agreement will be reached or not.

‘The USA – an ally of Georgia, calls on the sides to reach an agreement till the end of the year. The Chairman of the WTO says it is possible to reach an agreement’, the Reuters says.

‘We don’t feel any pressure. We are just saying that misunderstandings should be eradicated with a country that desires to affiliate with the organization’, Chiaberashvili said.

According to him, any agreement should include the introduction of the international monitoring missions to the checkpoints of Abkhazia and so-called South Ossetia.

The Ambassador said Russia’s activities and rhetoric did not promote negotiations. According to him, there are a lot of questions whether Russia really has the political will to affiliate with the WTO or not. (Interpressnews)

State companies to list their stocks on international stock exchanges

Georgian state companies intend to list their stocks on the international stock exchange. As reported, the Georgian parliament is working on a draft law, which would allow state companies to list part of their share package on the stock exchanges of New York, London and Warsaw.

State Oil and Gas Corporation will also be allowed to list its share on the stock exchanges.

The issue was discussed at the government's sitting on Wednesday. The Prime Minister said at the sitting that talks with investment banks have already started. (Rustavi 2)

Georgian patriarch meets Abkhaz and Ossetian teenagers

Georgia`s Catholicos Patriarch Ilia II met Abkhaz and Ossetian teenagers on Wednesday. The meeting was held in the patriarchate in Tbilisi.

About 40 teenagers of 15 countries visited Ilia II, who gave them presents and let them listen to hymns written by him.

The meeting was organized by the Georgian-Finnish movement European Alliance for Georgia.

Today Ilia II also met famous Georgian sumo wrestler Levan Tsaguria, also known as Kokai. The patriarch blessed him and presented a St. George`s icon to the sportsman. (Rustavi 2)

Number of people employed in Georgian tourism increases

The Chairman of National Tourism Agency held a briefing at the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. Maia Sidamonidze gave a report about the progress of tourism development, employment in the sector, development dynamics and future plans.

Maia Sidamonidze noted that tourism plays an important role in terms of employment, development of small and medium businesses, infrastructure and increasing export revenues worldwide. As reported, over 235 million people work in the tourism industry worldwide, which is 8% of total employment.

Maia Sidamonidze also said according to the evaluation of UNWTO, Georgia is remarkable for its growth of foreign tourists visiting the country. Such an increase of tourists in the country forces the development of infrastructure and service, thus creating additional jobs.

The attractive investment climate attracts trans-national companies to the country; as a result, new hotels and restaurants are constructed and the entertainment industry is developing. The Chairman also presented statistical data to the media: 45896 citizens were employed in the tourism industry in 2009, whereas in 2011, the number increased to 60982. Moreover, after completing several projects, this number will increase by several thousand by the end of the year. (Rustavi 2)

Aleko Shalamberidze accuses the New Rights Party and Christian-Democratic Movement of betrayal

Aleko Shalamberidze has accused the New Rights Party and the Christian-Democratic Movement of betrayal.

According to him, he left the National Council because of the above-mentioned parties, in order to maintain unity in the Oppositional Eight. However, the

New Rights Party and the Christian-Democratic Movement still adopted a decision to make a deal with the government and leave the Eight. ‘It is a betrayal’, Shalamberidze said.

‘We have to put pressure on the government through protests and various activities. Everyone, including the revolutionary parties, should be engaged in this process. I don’t support the idea of changing government through a revolution: the government should to be changed through elections, but until that time we have to cooperate with each other closely’, Shalamberidze said. (Interpressnews)

Rescuers searching for man in Mtkvari River

A rescue operation was underway in the vicinity of Metekhi Bridge on the Mtkvari River in Tbilisi yesterday. Rescuers are searching for a young man.

They started the operation after a call from an eyewitness. He said he noticed a young man in the water, who needed help.

The rescuers have only found a bag with documents inside so far. It turned out that the documents belong to the citizen of Turkey, Murad Gundadze, 30.

As reported, low visibility and fast water current impeded the rescue operation. Although, despite that, the rescuers said they were going to keep searching for the missing man until he is found.

It has not been ascertained yet how the man ended up in the river and an investigation is ongoing. (Rustavi 2)