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The News in Brief

Wednesday, February 13
Doctors advise public to vaccinate against flu

According to the National Center for Disease Control, three people have died of swine flu (H1N1) this year. Doctors say it would be good if people vaccinated themselves for prevention of swine flu. The vaccination costs 20-30 laris. They also advise everyone with the flu to avoid crowded areas, to wash hands frequently and to use masks. (IPN)

Distribution of Agricultural Cards Began

In the framework of the Small Land Owner Farmers Support Program, the distribution of agricultural cards began in the Kvemo Kartli Region and will continue throughout the country. The program is financed by the Rural and Agricultural Development Fund and is being fulfilled by the Agency of Agricultural Projects Management.

David Shervashidze, the First Deputy Minister of Agriculture, met with the heads of the village municipalities and attended card distribution process on Monday.

Mechanizatori Ltd will begin tillage work from the 15th of February in the Marneuli Municipality.

The Ministry of Agriculture prepared several support packages for small land owning farmers. In total, 640, 000 farmers possessing up to 5 hectares of agricultural land, will receive agricultural cards. (Ministry of Agriculture)

Georgian Finance Minister meets with businessmen

Georgian Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri met with representatives of small, medium and large businesses on Monday.

"It is almost impossible to build an economically strong state without cooperation with businesses. Business enterprises are ready for this, they hope for the start of an irreversible process of economic recovery," Khaduri said.

He said that businessmen have declared their readiness to increase investments and the number of employed. "The matter rests within the current reality in Georgia and the ways and attitudes of the new government to address the situation, including on tax legislation," the minister said.

As Khaduri stated, interesting proposals were put forward by the head of one of business association. "We have regular contact with them. We are ready to discuss all issues at the meetings. Our main goal is cooperation," he said.

Khaduri informed the members of the business associations about the government's economic policy, one of the main priorities of which is liberating business from government interference.

"The country has no privileged businessmen. The law is one for all, as well as conditions for fair competition in the market," Khaduri said.

A similar meeting with Adjara businessmen was held in Batumi. (Trend)

Armenian and Georgian FMs meet in Tbilisi

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian met with his Georgian counterpart, Maia Panjikidze in Tbilisi. Nalbandian and Panjikidze discussed the course of implementing the agreements that were reached during Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s and Georgian PM Bidzina Ivanishvili’s meeting and the two PMs’ talks that were held in Yerevan last month.

Also, the FMs reflected on the Armenian-Georgian agenda issues, and the joint steps being taken to resolve them. (News.Am)

Miners go on a strike in Chiatura

Five mines and seven processing factories went on a strike on Tuesday. Eight miners who were down inside the Shukruti mine refused to come out. The strikers demanded an increase in their existing 28 days of vacation to 48 days; the establishment of constitutionally defined days off; and the increase of sick days off due to illness. The Chiatura miners had previously gone on strike in fall, 2012. (Tabula)

Changes Planned in Government Structure

Parliament will begin discussing of package of bills on changes in the government’s structure involving scrapping the state ministry for employment; the changes will also apply to the ministries of environment and energy.

The post of the state minister for employment, which is slated to be cancelled under the proposed bill, was introduced by the previous government ahead of the October 2012 parliamentary elections.

The Ministry of Environment was downscaled in function in 2011 after some of its agencies– among them are those in charge of the use of natural resources and nuclear and radioactive regulations, were transferred under the subordination of the Ministry of Energy. These functions will now go back under the Environment Ministry if Parliament approves the proposed changes. (Civil.Ge)

Former MIA official summoned for interrogation again

Guram Donadze former head of the PR department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (MIA) will be interrogated at the chief Prosecutor’s Office. Donadze, who was arrested right after his arrival to Georgia at Sarpi customs on February 9, was released from prison after posting 25,000 GEL bail. He is accused of forging evidence and the abuse of his authority in connection with the murder of Buta Robakidze in 2004.He was charged and sentenced to pre-trial detention in absentia. However, he decided to arrive and collaborate with the investigation.

The series of interrogations also continued at the investigation service of the Ministry of Finance. First deputy chairperson of Tbilisi City Hall, Mamuka Akhvlediani, was summoned for interrogation as a witness for the fourth time.

Reportedly, the questions of the investigation referred to the work of the Tbilservice Group Municipal Ltd., which according to the investigation was staffed with the activists of the United National Movement, Mayor Gigi Ugulava and City Council members were involved in this process. (Rustavi 2)

“If Georgia ever follows our demands, we might start a dialogue”

The de facto government of South Ossetia excludes the possibility of holding any type of negotiation with Georgia until Tbilisi recognizes its independence and the genocide of the Ossetian people. De facto President Leonid Tibilov said that “any other option will be discussed as a private statement.”

Tibilov said South Ossetia has released their opinion over this issue many times. He said Georgia is obliged to take legal responsibility over the steps made towards South Ossetia since 1989 and sign a document about the non-use of force against South Ossetia under the frames of the Geneva discussions. “If the Georgian government ever follows these demands, we may be able to start a dialogue,” Tibilov said, stressing that South Ossetia has chosen a pro-Russian path, as well as strong cooperation with North Ossetia. “We have a Russia orientation – this is our major line of foreign policy,” he stressed. (Front News)