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The News in Brief

Friday, May 4
McCain hails Georgia’s progress at Vilnius University

US Senator John McCain hailed Georgia’s democratic reforms in a speech at Vilnius University on Wednesday.

“In Georgia, the world is witnessing the dramatic success that is possible when a democratic government fights corruption and liberates the talents of its people. The central challenge for Georgia now is to institutionalize its democracy, which makes Georgia’s elections next year so important,” McCain said.

The US Senator also said that the United States and the European Union should reinforce its support for the country. “Here, too, the United States and Europe must continue to support Georgia. America must move urgently to finalize a free trade agreement with Georgia, and the United States and NATO must ensure that the alliance is helping Georgia to acquire the defensive weapons it so desperately needs to defend itself,” he remarked. (Rustavi 2)

Germany to allocate ˆ52 000 to support elections in Georgia

The government of Germany will allocate ˆ52 000 to support the upcoming elections in Georgia, the Embassy of Germany told InterpressNews.

Germany is contributing to the Council of Europe’s program of assistance for Georgia’s elections, the goal of which is promote the coming parliamentary (2012), presidential (2013) and local (2014) elections.

“The Council of Europe’s program is focused on a high turnout of voters taking part in elections for the first time. The aim of the program is to increase knowledge among the young regarding democratic values. Thus, Germany is contributing to consolidation of human rights and democracy in Georgia,” Germany’s Ambassador to the Council of Europe said while signing the agreement in Strasbourg. (IPN)

Economic Minister attends international forum in Germany

A Georgian delegation is participating in an international forum on transport in Leipzig, Germany.

Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Vera Kobalia is leading the delegation. She delivered a speech at the opening day of the forum that focused on the reforms that are underway in Georgia’s transportation sector.

The minister also discussed prospects of cooperation at bilateral meetings with the heads of transportation ministries of various countries.

On Friday, Kobalia will attend a session dedicated to the discussion of piracy. (Rustavi 2)

EBU fines Armenia for withdrawing from Eurovision 2012

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has fined Armenia for withdrawing from the Eurovision 2012 song contest, to be held later this month in Baku, Azerbaijan. Armenia will pay 50% of their entrance fee as a penalty.

On February 24, a group of Armenian pop singers issued a statement refusing to take part in Eurovision. Armenia will be prohibited to take part in Eurovision 2013 if the country refuses to pay the fine. (Rustavi 2)

Murder suspect detained in Tbilisi

A 19-year-old Georgian national, Sandro Grigolia, wanted by Dutch and Georgian police for a murder and robbery committed in the Netherlands a few days ago, has been arrested.

Grigolia was detained in Tbilisi this morning. The official website of the Dutch police reported the suspect’s detention. The Dutch police are now holding negotiations with Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs seeking extradition of the accused.

Grigolia is a citizen of Netherlands. He surrendered to police in Tbilisi Thursday morning.

A video of the robbery was released on the internet Wednesday. A surveillance camera in the jewelry shop where the robbery and murder occurred, captured Grigolia and his accomplice threatening s salesman with guns and demanding jewelry and cash. They then shot the 47-year-old salesman, who later died of his injuries. (Rustavi 2)