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The News in Brief

Friday, November 23
President pardons 517, Parole Commission - 115 convicts

President Saakashvili has signed a decree on pardoning 517 convicts a day before St. George`s Day (Giorgoba). Fifty of the pardoned prisoners will have their sentences reduced, while 469 others will be released from prisons today. There are 43 women convicts among the pardoned, nine of whom will have their sentences reduced and 34 who will be released from prison today. There are no minors among the pardoned; a member of the State Pardon Commission explains that no pardon requests were submitted by the families of underage convicts.

115 other convicts will also leave prisons today under the decision of the Parole Commission, which has discussed 400 cases, but approved only 115. In addition, 2800 individuals currently on probation will have their status lifted.

The Deputy Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance of Georgia has commented that some of the prisoners pardoned by President Saakashvili might still be a threat to society. (Rustavi 2)

Oxygen Level to be Measured in the New Parliament Building

Specialists will arrive in Kutaisi to study the amount of oxygen in the new Georgian Parliament Building, head of the Parliament Office Zurab Marakvelidze told InterPressNews .Parliamentary employees have recently complained about the lack of air and the smell of glue and acetone in the building. (IPN)

Tbilisi mayor`s office releases records of audio conversations

The Tbilisi mayor`s office has released the records of audio conversations between former and current employees of Hermes, Ltd. In the recorded conversations the employees speak about how a negative PR campaign should be carried out to tarnish the reputation of Hermes, Ltd., including the sell-off of already used burial plots and the transfer of money paid by the families of the deceased to employees' personal accounts.

Municipal authorities say that journalists might be involved in such provocations and that their only intent is to discredit the Mayor's office and mislead society. (Rustavi 2)

Irakli Alasania to visit Afghanistan

Minister of Defense of Georgia Irakli Alasania will visit Afghanistan. Alasania told journalists, he will meet with Georgian soldiers as well as high ranking NATO military officials and Afghan government representatives..

I want to personally see the conditions of our soldiers. I will also have bilateral meetings with the government of Afghanistan. Its very important for us to help the government of Afghanistan, so that they are able to provide their own security and our troops can return home. We also know how hard it is to be under Soviet occupation. We have more sympathy towards them due to this fact. Alasania said.

The Minister of Defense of Georgia will visit Brussels for several days before visiting Afghanistan. (IPN)

Baidauri forces local government employees to resign

Approximately 200 Akhmeta government employees claim they were instructed to hand in their resignations under the order of the governor`s representative Beka Baidauri. The employees say they were informed about the governor`s order by his chief of staff.

The governor`s representative says his instruction is part of the structural reorganization of local government. Baidauri says the new staff of the self-government will be selected by passing professional tests, but he also says he needs experienced employees and many of those currently employed may be allowed to keep their positions. (Rustavi 2)

Turkish police arrest Georgian citizen accused of murder

The Turkish press reported that 6 persons have been detained as part of a special operation in Istanbul and Adapazar. The arrested are accused of involvement in a series of killings of Chechen refugees in Istanbul.

The arrested are accused of involvement in the murder of 3 Chechen refugees in Istanbul on September 16, 2011. The key figure among the arrested is Georgian national Ruslan Papaskiri.

According to the news agency Cihan, 4 out of the 6 persons detained were released on November 16th. According to the news agency Ruslan Papaskeri was questioned but refused to answer any questions or cooperate with the investigation on the grounds that he is a foreign national. (Rustavi 2)

Social Dialogue Commission held its first session

The first session of the Commission for Labour Relations and Social Dialogue Issues was held at the Government`s Chancellery today. The commission chairperson is Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

At the first session the members of the commission primarily discussed the Commission`s action plan and other organizational issues. The Commission took a decision to set up working groups, which will investigate conflicts between employees and employers. The Commission will try to facilitate dialogue between both parties and prepare recommendations for labor disputes.

The commission is staffed of nine representatives from various ministries. (Rustavi 2)