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The News in Brief

Thursday, December 6
Statement from the US Embassy to Georgia

At a time of internal political tension, we are encouraged to think that the Georgian Government and President were able to reach an agreement on a new Chief of the Joint Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, a statement from the US Embassy to Georgia says.

"Georgia's stability and prosperity depend on the ability of both sides to find compromises in the name of national interest. As NATO foreign ministers gather in Brussels, we are encouraged by this development,í says the statement.

Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania presented a new candidate for head of the Joint Staff, Colonel Irakli Dzneladze on Monday. Alasania said the candidate was selected after the consultations between him and the President. Irakli Dzneladze had been serving in the armed forces for 20 years. He worked in the infantry and the joint staff. He was a military attache of Georgia to Ukraine. (Interpressnews)

Tariff reduction issue to be clarified in a week

Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia Kakha Kaladze has said that the details and possibilities for reducing tariffs on electricity and natural gas will be clarified in a week. The minister hopes that the consensus will be reached and the details will be clear in a few days.

The minister said that the Georgian side has already introduced its vision of tariff reduction mechanisms and are now waiting for the response from the energy companies.

ďThe negotiations are underway. The working group is holding meetings with Inter Rao and Energo-Pro energy companies. Last week we provided them with our vision about the tariff reduction and this week we are waiting for their reply. Only after this we`ll know if it is possible and how much it is possible to reduce tariffs," minister said. (Rustavi 2)

Georgia ranks 51st in Transparency Internationalís 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index

Georgia ranks 51st in Transparency Internationalís 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) which measures perceived public sector corruption in 176 countries. Georgiaís score in the 2012 survey is 52 on a scale of 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean).

Georgia currently ranks ahead of several EU member states, including the Czech Republic, Latvia, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria, and slightly below Rwanda, Lithuania, Costa Rica, and Hungary. Georgia shares the 51st place in the ranking with the Seychelles. The 2012 CPI was calculated using an improved methodology which does not allow the data to be compared with previous surveys.

The countries with the lowest perceived corruption in 2012 are Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden and Singapore. Meanwhile, Myanmar, Sudan, Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia are found at the bottom of the ranking. (Interpressnews)

Detained ex-minister`s wife founds new NGO

Center for Freedom and Support is a new non-governmental organization founded by the wife of the arrested former minister of interior Bacho Akhalaia. Ana Nadareishvili founded the new NGO together with the former chief of the general inspection of the interior ministry, Tengiz Gunava and lawyer Giorgi Oniani.

Ana Nadareishvili defined the motives of founding the new NGO at a press conference yesterday. She said they took this decision after the new government began to arrest former officials. Akhalaia's wife accuses the minister of justice and the chief prosecutor of violating the presumption of innocence in their statements. (Rustavi 2)

Locals demand governorís resignation in Gurjaani

Activists of Georgian Dream coalition want to take positions in the Gurjaani self-government, where there was a serious row between the locals and the municipal officials on Monday. About one hundred activists rallied outside the municipality today, but afterwards they intruded into the office of the governor. They are demanding the governor`s resignation, declaring mistrust to him. They have given a few hours` deadline to the municipal officials to resign and elect a new governor.

Protestors say the region has many problems, which the current officials cannot solve. (Rustavi 2)