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The News in Brief

Tuesday, February 14
Israeli Embassy car bomb defused

On Monday, an explosive device was found on a car belonging to a staff member of the Israeli Embassy in Tbilisi. Police were able to defuse the bomb before it went off. This information has been confirmed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. On the same day, a bomb attached to an Israeli embassy car in New Delhi, India exploded, injuring several bystanders.
(The Messenger)

Negotiations with Turkey on visas continue

Recently adopted amendments to Turkish visa laws will affect citizens of Georgia, although negotiations on the issue are ongoing, according to Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nino Kalandadze.

Kalandadze explained that Georgia and Turkey have signed an agreement on visa liberalization that is in opposition to the draft adopted by the Turkish legislature.

“Georgia believes that legal inaccuracies were present. Our position is that any existing change to the bilateral international agreement needs to be [addressed]," she said, adding that talks are underway with both the foreign and interior ministries.

The Turkish parliament made changes to its temporary visa laws, in which citizens of foreign countries are allowed to stay in Turkey for three months. Now, once a visitor's term expires, they are barred from re-entry until another three months have passed. The law takes effect this month.

Saakashvili visits Gldani prison

President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, visited the Gldani penitentiary and viewed the newly built public reception area.

The President says that it is important that family members whose relatives are in prison not feel humiliated by their visit.

“The difference between the old and the new system we created is that we make life for the families whose members are imprisoned simpler. The greatest humiliation was in visitation. The system was oriented on humiliation, oppression and they made money by this and took pleasure in it. The new system is different and a significant continuation of other services,” Saakashvili explained.

The President said that the government must do its best not to place a person in prison if it is possible. “But if it concerns a crime where the criminal must be isolated from society, their family members must be minimally damaged by this. The fact that it is safe in the streets is because the people who committed a crime are held accountable. But on the other hand, these people must return to their families after they leave prisons. These families must be in respectable conditions,” he remarked.

Kurdghelashvili addresses Bureau about leaving UNM

Former member of the parliamentary majority, Koba Kurdghelashvili, has addressed the parliamentary Bureau about leaving the United National Movement. His statement reads that it was his decision to leave the faction. The deputy did not mention future plans.

Vice Speaker of Parliament Mikheil Machavariani says that the leader of the parliamentary majority, Petre Tsiskarishvili, spoke with Kurdghelashvili, and the Kaspi majority deputy confirmed that he prefers to continue political activity outside the majority.

Member of the Christian-Democrats and Vice Chair of Parliament, Levan Vepkhvadze, confirmed that negotiations with Kurdghelashvili are under way about his transfer to the parliamentary minority.

Labour Party prepping for a rally

The Georgian Labour Party is preparing for a demonstration on February 17. Leaders and supporters of the opposition party will assemble outside Parliament at 3:00pm and demand fair elections.

The Party's Ideological Secretary, Kakha Dzagania, announced at a briefing today that any person who wants fair and unbiased elections can join the protest. According to Dzagania, the party submitted a relevant application in the Tbilisi government and received a confirmation that they may hold a sanctioned rally.
(Rustavi 2)

Lilo Mall to be granted special trade zone status

Lilo Mall – the largest open trade complex in Tbilisi – will become the first special trade zone of its kind in Georgia. According to recent legislative changes, mall traders will enjoy special tax privileges. Lilo will also be divided into several zones with a unified electronic system of payment.

Those individuals who trade at Lilo will be exempt from income and revenue taxes, and will pay only a 3% tax on their profits.

A new, modern building is also planned for the mall.
(Rustavi 2)

Judo success at Oberwart World Cup

The Georgian national judo team has taken first place at the World Cup tournament held in the Austrian city of Oberwart. Betkil Shukvani won a gold medal in the 60kg category on the first day of the tournament, and Levan Tsiklauri won the team's second gold in the 81 kg category. Adam Okruashvili won a silver medal, and Zviad Khanjaliashvili, a bronze.

Levan Tsiklauri's wrestling was as effective at the World Cup tournament as it was in an earlier match in Tbilisi. In 74 seconds, he dashed Canadian wrestler Antoine Valois-Fortier's hopes of winning gold and took the prize for himself.

The most unexpected outcome of the weekend was wrestler Avtandil Chrikishvili's poor showing. The Tbilisi World Cup champion was knocked out in the second round of the tournament.
(Rustavi 2)