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The News in Brief

Wednesday, February 22
British ambassador visits Sokhumi

The Ambassador of Great Britain to Georgia, Judith Gough, visited Sokhumi, reports Apsni Press.

The ambassador met with de-facto President of Abkhazia, Aleksandr Ankvab, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Viacheslav Chirikba. Gough greeted Ankvab in the Abkhazian language and mentioned that this is her first visit to Abkhazia.

The purpose of her visit is to discuss possible cooperation between European countries and Abkhazia.

Ankvab said that Abkhazia’s relations with the EU are poor, but he hopes that in future that will change. He is convinced, though, that Abkhazia can do without the help of those European nations that support Georgia's “engagement without recognition” policy.

The President also stated that he does not see the point of meetings between representatives of Abkhazia and the EU. Gough considers such meetings necessary to inform the world about Abkhazia. (Interpressnews)

Drug crime continues to decline

The Georgian Chief Prosecutor's Office presented the results of their 2011 anti-drug survey at the Tbilisi Marriott on Tuesday. The research finds that drug-related crime has fallen significantly in Georgia.

According to the survey, drug crimes were down 32% over 2010, and 53% since 2007. The findings also show that the turnover of the heavy drugs on the black market has been reduced, as well as the number of drug-addicts and criminals, especially youth.

The presentation marked the conclusion of the first phase of the government's anti-drug campaign. The Ministry of Justice also plans to initiate a harm reduction program and corresponding legislative amendments. (Rustavi 2)

Medvedev meets with opposition leaders

In the wake of large-scale demonstrations across Russia, President Dmitri Medvedev has agreed to meet with opposition leaders.

In their first meeting with Medvedev since his presidency began, opposition leaders presented a list of political prisoners to be released as part of their demands. However, representatives report that they did not receive an answer from the President about their proposals.

The only result of the meeting is that a political reform action group will be formed, and staffed with opposition figures; however, the opposition remains skeptical about the agreement. (Rustavi 2)

Majority, minority MPs begin consultations on political debates

A group of parliamentary opposition MPs has begun consultations with the majority faction regarding procedure for the debates that will follow the President's annual report next week. Although the Bureau has already made the decision to regulate follow-up speeches, MPs from the Powerful Georgia faction demanded more speaking time.

Political debates will be held in parliament after the President's address. Minority and majority MPs will be given 45 minutes for speeches, factions given 15 minutes, and the Vice-Chair 10 minutes, to express their position regarding the President's report. (Rustavi 2)

Gorgodze named Best Sportsman by Lelo

Lelo, the daily sports newspaper, conducted their first reader survey to determine Georgia's "Best Sportsman". In a survey conducted simultaneously online and over the telephone, 5,148 readers participated.

Mamuka Gorgodze (rugby) took first place with 1,223 votes. Basketball player Viktor Sanikidze took second with 876 votes, and former captain of the Georgian football team, Kakha Kaladze, took third with 570 votes.

Nino Odzelashvili (Sambo), Jaba Khositashvili (boxing), Guram Kashia (football), Zaza Pachulia (basketball), Vladimir Khinchagashvili (wrestling), Levan Obiashvili (football), and Irakli Tsirekidze (Judo) rounded out the top ten.

The awards ceremony will be held at the Sport Cafe on February 24. (Interpressnews)