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The News in Brief

Tuesday, February 28
Special agency to promote Georgian reforms abroad

The government of Georgia is setting up a special agency to promote the country's reforms and innovations on an international level.

Parliamentary secretary Gia Khuroshvili said that the agency will inform interested states about Georgian efforts to combat corruption and reform the public service.

Many countries have become interested in Georgian reforms, particularly after they were praised by international organizations like the World Bank.

Khuroshvili noted that the agency will access information from various public offices.

The Prime Minister will appoint the chair of the agency.

Labour Party preparing for demonstrations

The Georgian Labour Party is preparing for permanent demonstrations in demand of fair elections. Leader Shalva Natelashvili says the rallies are necessary in order for Georgian society to have fair and unbiased elections – and they must occur before, not after, the fall elections.

"We should win the elections before and not afterwards. We must not wait for its result... [but] show the red card to the government right now in order to save our country," Natelashvili said.
(Rustavi 2)

Newspaper claims Ivanishvili doubled asking price of Russian business

Russian newspaper Kommersant reports that Georgian business tycoon and politician Bidzina Ivanishvili has estimated the value of the business he runs in Russia as double its worth.

According to the article, the billionaire decided to sell off his assets in Russia in order to sponsor his political activities in Georgia. An agro-industrial company, Stoilenskaya Niva, is among the businesses, which has been priced by the oligarch at $350 million USD. Experts say the price is twice its actual value.

The net worth of other agro-industrial companies was also published, with revenue during the past nine years ranging from $60 to $90 million USD.
(Rustavi 2)

CDM demands regulation of bread prices

The Christian Democratic Movement believes that the price of bread in Georgia is too high. The party says this is caused by an artificially-created, uncompetitive business environment, as the industry, they allege, is run by several "monopolist" companies.

The Christian Democrats call on the government to regulate the price of bread, and provide supplies of raw materials to bread factories at affordable prices.

"In the world market, the price of bread has been reduced by 50%, while in Georgia it remains the same; therefore, our demand is to provide liberalization of this business in the country," party representative Jaba Samushia said.
(Rustavi 2)

Russian soldiers cast absentee ballots for presidential election

Soldiers from the 4th Russian military outfit in breakaway South Ossetia have cast their vote for the Russian presidential elections in advance, according to Res new agency. Last year, 13 000 residents of the region participated in the December elections of the Russian State Duma.

Five advance polling stations were opened. There will be 12 regular polling stations for the March 4 presidential elections, three exclusively for Russian military and border guards.

“Approximately 200 soldiers in the Georgian border region participated in the elections beforehand. One hundred percent of the guards... exercised their constitutional right,” the military leadership reported.

On February 29, an election information day will be held.

Special agency to inspect violations at maternity hospital

The baby of Nino Martoiani, the 26-year-old woman who died at the New Maternity Centre last week, is undergoing final examinations before doctors decide to discharge her from the hospital. DNA tests have confirmed that the baby is the child of Martoiani and her husband, Zurab Pitskhelauri. Previously, the family had suspected that their child had died, and the clinic had presented them with another baby.

The cost of medical treatment and DNA analysis were covered by the Ministry of Health. Meanwhile, a special commission will investigate the work of the clinic personnel, as a preliminary inspection revealed 25 violations. The clinic was stripped of its license until the investigation concludes and clinic management equips the business in accordance with government standards.
(Rustavi 2)